How the ‘Budget for Growth’ impacts the UK Research and Knowledge Exchange sector

How the ‘Budget for Growth’ impacts the UK Research and Knowledge Exchange sector
The Spring Budget 2023 is set on making the UK a science and tech superpower. Img Source: RAEng/Unsplash

March 15 marks the release of the UK Government Spring Budget 2023.

Labelled ‘a budget for growth’ by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt during his speech, the Spring Budget brings many ambitious plans to harness resources and talent to make the UK a science and technology superpower and to boost the UK Research and Knowledge Exchange sector.

To achieve this, the UK Chancellor announces the following key points:

Investment Zones

‘’Today I announce that we will deliver 12 new Investment Zones, 12 potential Canary Wharfs.’’

At the moment, the following locations in England are under consideration for these Investment Zones: ‌‌‌‌

📍West Midlands, Greater Manchester, the North-East, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Midlands, Teesside and Liverpool. There will also be at least one in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To be chosen, each area must identify a location where they can offer a bold and imaginative partnership between local government and a university or research institute in a way that catalyses new innovation clusters.

If the application is successful, they will have access to £80 million of support for various interventions including skills, infrastructure, tax reliefs and business rates retention.

University Enterprise Zones are also on the rise. As Universities UK outlines:

Since their launch in 2014, UEZs have brought outstanding economic and social benefits. UEZ’s created in 2019 showed a phenomenal return on investment, generating £4.50 from every £1 of government investment. Their value to local economies is remarkable.

KEVRI also began its journey at a UEZ in Cornwall and can testify to the benefits that these zones bring. We now aim to support other University Enterprise and Investment Zones through our Knowledge Exchange and Impact planning tool.

Levelling-up and place-based regeneration‌‌

‘’Working together with our formidable Levelling Up Secretary, I also want to give some further support to levelling up areas under the ‘E’ of everywhere.’’

Place-based regeneration/ Impact on Place is an essential factor to consider if we create Knowledge Exchange and Research projects involving local businesses and communities.

At KEVRI we have supported and recorded many incredible regeneration projects and understand the importance of investing in place-based regeneration- as shown in our latest Impact on Place feature below.

Snapshot of Falmouth University Impact on Place map: Source: KEVRI Tool

As Hunt states in his Spring Budget 2023 Speech:

➾£200 million shall be invested in high-quality local regeneration projects across England, including the regeneration of Tipton town centre and the Marsden New Mills Redevelopment Scheme.

➾£161 million shall be invested in regeneration projects in Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority.

➾£400 million will be made available for new Levelling Up Partnerships in areas that include Redcar and Cleveland, Blackburn, Oldham, Rochdale, Mansfield, South Tyneside, and Bassetlaw.

Civic Entrepreneurship

‘’For levelling up to truly succeed we need to unleash the civic entrepreneurship that is only possible when elected local leaders are able to fund and deliver solutions to their own challenges.’’

Elected or not, local leaders come in many shapes and forms.

At KEVRI, we have had the pleasure of meeting many. As behind every Knowledge Exchange project sits an entrepreneur with an idea.

As the Spring Budget 2023 (P.72) outlines:

The UK is at its best when it can draw from the combined talent and strength of its regions and nations. Empowered local decision-making, civic entrepreneurship and local wealth creation lead to better outcomes for businesses and citizens across the country.

''So the government will consult on transferring responsibilities for local economic development currently delivered by Local Enterprise Partnerships to support local economic development to local authorities from April 2024,'' adds Hunt.
Local leaders need support too. Image Source: Microsoft/Unsplash

Creating a culture of enterprise

‘’An enterprise-focused economy is one that attracts and supports the most dynamic and productive companies.’’

As the Spring Budget 2023 Fact Sheet outlines:

At Spring Budget 2023, the Chancellor announced a new R&D scheme for 20,000 SMEs in the UK - coming in from 1 April 2023 and worth around £500 million per year.

These changes are a key part of the Chancellor’s plan to get the economy growing and make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business by promoting the conditions for enterprise to succeed.

Eligible loss-making companies will be able to claim £27 from HMRC for every £100 of R&D investment, instead of £18.60 for non R&D intensive loss makers.

Ultimately, the Spring Budget 2023 unveils many promising enterprise, entrepreneurship and local regeneration plans that may positively impact the UK's Research, Development and Knowledge Exchange landscape.

Such plans could lead to lifelong benefits and fulfil the overarching aim of the UK becoming a science and tech superpower.

Yet while the focus on science and tech remains strong, there is still focus on the UK creative industries, with promises from Hunt of higher tax relief for film, TV and video games industries to boost the UK creative sector.

Access the Spring Budget 2023 here.

Discover how KEVRI supports civic entrepreneurship, enterprise cultures and investment zones here.



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