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Cuts to Budget, Reputation

Budget cuts in the UK would undermine officials' positioning of Britain as a science powerhouse, the Financial Times writes.

The Independent reports that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has a £120 million (US $165 million) budget gap following a decision to reduce international development aid. This gap affects the Official Development Assistance program, which supports international research efforts into, for instance, malaria and HIV.

"If COVID has taught us anything, it's that this type of science and technology is vital to ending disease and keeping new threats at bay," Gareth Jenkins, an advocacy director at Malaria No More UK, tells the Independent.

Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, adds at FT that the cuts would also harm international relationships. "The reputational damage will be enormous," he says.

At the same time, FT notes that UKRI has to carve £2 billion a year out of its £8.5 billion budget to pay for UK membership in the Horizon Europe program, which was previously funded through the UK's European Union membership. This cut, Greg Clark, chair of the Commons science committee and former Conservative business secretary, tells FT "would be a devastating reduction."