UK R&D Expenditure Continues to Trail Other Leading Economies

By April 23, 2019 Press Releases

The House of Commons has revealed the latest figures on R&D spending in the UK. Additionally, the release includes a breakdown of R&D spending by region and industry with international comparisons.

In the UK in 2017, total expenditure on R&D was £34.8 billion, £527 per head, or the equivalent of 1.7 per cent of GDP. The regions which listed the highest R&D spending include the East of England, South East England and London. The pharmaceuticals sector spends more on R&D than any industry in the UK, with £4.3 billion spent in 2017. The automotive sector ranks second in R&D spending reaching £3.6 billion in 2017. These two sectors also employ the most people in R&D related roles of any industries. Overall, 231,000 people are employed in R&D related roles in the UK.

As part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy policy, they have a target for total R&D investment to reach 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.

When compared to other economies, UK investment in R&D as a proportion of GDP is below the OECD average of 2.3 per cent. R&D expenditure in Germany is equivalent to 2.9 per cent of GDP, in the US it is 2.7 per cent and in France it is 2.2 per cent.

In response to these figures, Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO said:

“The UK continues to lag behind many of our OECD competitors on R&D spending. R&D expenditure can result in new jobs, new businesses and new technologies. The Government needs to encourage greater investment in R&D.

“The Government should bring forward its commitment to reach 2.4 per cent of GDP invested in R&D to earlier than 2027. We should also benchmark UK investment in science and research against other OECD countries, in order to measure support for our knowledge economy.

“As well as retaining Video Games Tax Relief, TIGA would like to see the Government introduce a Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF) to enhance studios’ access to finance. It could provide between £75,000 and £500,000 to developers nationwide, promoting the development of original IP and encourage studio growth. Both Video Games Tax Relief and the Video Games Investment Fund can promote investment in our sector.”


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