Science: Banks will boost research by £100m

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Bankers will fund a £100 million boost to British science to pay for new facilities, maintenance and equipment, George Osborne announced yesterday.

The extra capital investment outlined in the Budget will come out of the levy on the profits made by the banks, the Chancellor said. It will be used to equip and maintain key reearch centres in Daresbury, Norwich, Cambridge and Harwell, as well as space technology.

The move is intended to soften the blow of cuts to science capital investment last year and encourage competitiveness and innovation. Science spending was frozen until 2015 in the Comprehensive Spending Review in October, a real-term reduction of less than 10 per cent.

Imran Khan, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, said the extra funding would make an important difference but should only be seen as a "first step". He added: "Labs across the country are going to be struggling to make ends meet."