Space funding in Budget, but the figures are vague

Some £900m was promised in the Budget for investment to support UK businesses in developing future technologies, and space is certainly included within that. The National Space Strategy and a new space innovation fund will receive money from that £900m, but exactly how much was not specified.

Space is just one area in the mix, along with the likes of commercialising nuclear fusion technology and helping the UK develop supply chains for the large-scale production of electric vehicles.

UKspace had called on policymakers to support actions that included the National Space Programme, and had asked for £150m for the innovation fund. The Chancellor’s Budget speech did not go so far as put numbers to these invidual items.

He did, however, allocate £800m for the formation of Britain’s equivalent to America’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to fund high risk research. There was also £100m allocated for defence R&D, including funding for cutting-edge technology in space propulsion

Commenting on the Budget statement, ADS chief executive Paul Everitt said: “Today’s Budget showed welcome intent from the Government to make a substantial increase in R&D investment that supports our industries in developing and manufacturing advanced new technologies in the UK.

“We asked the Treasury to boost R&D funding in the space sector and I am pleased to see the Chancellor announce investment in the National Space Strategy and space innovation fund, as well as £100m in defence sector R&D.

“We look forward to the Government announcing detailed spending plans in July and hope to see long-term commitment to the Aerospace Technology Institute. Joint investment by Government and industry boosts our long-term competitiveness and holds the key to delivering long-term growth in all nations and regions of the UK.”

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