Keep up, Philip Hammond. The UK’s research lags behind | Martin McQuillan

The chancellor is turning to universities to bail out the economy. But businesses in the UK need to greatly improve their spending on research

The bar for success for Philip Hammond’s budget last week was quite low. In the end it met the basic criteria of not being a disaster – unlike the prime minister’s party conference speech or the recent cabinet resignations. Even though the chancellor said UK growth would not exceed 2% in the next five years, this was not deemed to be a calamity.

With inflation at 3%, growth stalling and the unprecedented economic effects of Brexit not even factored into the figures, this is the sort of performance that in normal times would cost a chancellor their job. But these are not normal times and it is in this context that the government is turning to universities to help bail out the economy.

Related: Universities abroad headhunting 95% of UCL’s top EU researchers, provost says

Related: Brexit threatens UK’s reputation for scientific research, watchdog says

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