Academy of Social Sciences responds to Budget 2020

11 March 2020

The Academy of Social Sciences welcomes the decisions announced in Budget 2020 to
increase government’s own spend on Research and Development (R&D), and to stimulate
faster growth in private sector R&D. While much of the new money announced will go to
physical and life sciences, we know that meeting the grand challenges (climate change, health
and ageing for instance) will require social science analysis, knowledge, and methodologies.
The emphasis on increased government spending on evaluation, and the additional funding
for the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and the Government Office for Science, are
also likely to involve social sciences, not least in evaluating value for money and the effects
of regulation, taxation and behaviour change.

The Academy also welcomes the decision to apply a zero-rate of VAT to digital publications,
a long-standing anomaly that has included academic publications.

Finally, we particularly welcome the confirmation of a review of how UK R&D is now
measured, as we believe social science-based R&D is not well captured by current
definitions. This is particularly important in the service sector that makes up 80% of the UK
economy. We will have some examples in our forthcoming report on social sciences in UK
private sector business – due out in the spring!