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BSI reaction to Government announcement of spending review

Today the Chancellor announced the results of the Comprehensive Spending review that the Government has been conducting. In response, the BSI issued the following statement:

Professor Peter Openshaw, President of British Society for Immunology, said:

“The British Society for Immunology welcomes the announcement by the UK Government in today’s Comprehensive Spending review that the science budget will be protected in real terms, and that there will be extra money for the NHS. The UK’s ability to conduct high-quality, cutting edge fundamental research is a critical factor in our ability to understand the science behind immunological and infectious disease and to find new approaches to prevention and treatment of these important and sometimes devastating conditions. Science and innovation are key factors in growing this country’s economy and contributing to our national successes. Good science costs money, but is well worth the investment.

“We are also pleased to see investment in genomics, antimicrobial resistance research and the establishment of the £1bn Ross Fund to invest in drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and treatments to combat infectious disease worldwide in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the announcement of the £1.5m Global Challenges Fund to tackle problems faced by developing countries.

“However, we are concerned that the proposed cuts and changes to the public health budget may impact on the preventative and surveillance services that underpin the UK’s excellent vaccine programmes.  Public health plays a critical role in preventing disease, preserving good health and saving the a great deal of expense in treating preventable disease.  George Osborne said that his aim was to “develop a modern, integrated, health and social care system that supports people at every stage of their lives”. Public health has to be a vital part of this strategy, and a decrease spend on this aspect will undoubtedlycost the NHS more in the long term.

“There still are important details to come out, particularly with respect to changes in the Research Excellence Framework and the implications of the Comprehensive Spending Review for our universities. We will be analysing this and subsequent statements carefully.”