Science, innovation, education and transport sector have been spared from the budget cuts

Science and innovation spared by Spending Review

Whereas public, social and healthcare budgets have been cut, transport infrastructure, intelligence and science and innovation will receive an extra boost.

According to this year’s Spending Review, announced by Chancellor George Osborne today, the government will embark on the largest investment programme in roads in 50 years and in railways since the Victorian age.

The Department of Transport would make a 9 per cent saving in day-to-day spending – meaning jobs would have to be cut - but will receive the largest boost of all departments to its capital budget, which rises to £9.5 billion in 2015/16.

Special attention will be given to the London Crossrail 2 project backed by London Mayor Boris Johnson. Mr Osborne added that the Government would provide Mr Johnson almost £9bn of capital spending and additional financing power by 2020.

Further £100bn investments in infrastructure projects will be announced tomorrow. Among the schemes believed to receive funding is a new £600m six-lane motorway bridge over Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes in north-west England.

"Overall we welcome today's commitment to long-term transport funding, but capital expenditure on our strategic roads is not yet back to the levels seen before the cuts started in 2011 and the reduction in resource spending risks exacerbating the pothole plague,” RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister commented on the announcement.

Some rather good news came in also for the science and innovation sector that will have the government capital spending protected against inflation for at least the next seven years. That means the overall science capital budget covering spending on research facilities and equipment will grow in line with inflation each year to 2020 -21.

Osborne said the government believed such action is necessary to provide long-term stability of science infrastructure and "to maximise the potential of the UK's world-leading scientific excellence."

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, welcomed the outcomes of the Spending Review and said they are ‘as good as can be expected’.

"Crucially, the Government has prioritised spending in the areas that will deliver a greater growth dividend. Investing in science and innovation, export promotion and skills is critical to create a strong more balanced economy,” he said.

According to Scuoler, the investments in infrastructure are desirable, but the government has to ensure the ‘ambition translates into delivery.’

The education sector was also largely spared from the cuts. The Department for Education’s budget will rise to £53bn and will have the school funding ring-fenced. By 2015/2016, the government will fund 180 new free schools plus 20 studio schools and 20 university technical colleges.

UK’s intelligence services will have their overall budget increased by 3.4 per cent. This covers the eavesdropping agency GCHQ, the Security Service MI5 and the Secret intelligence Service MI6.

The government will also invest £210m into the National Cyber Security Programme.

The spending round delivers total savings of £11.5 billion - some £5 billion of which will come from efficiency savings.

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