Science Industry Partnership

04 Mar 2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers his spring budget

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his spring budget yesterday and confirmed a number of new investments for the further education and skills sector.

Below are some key takeaways: 


  • Incentive payments for hiring new apprentices are being doubled to £3,000, with the scheme now being extended until September 2021.
  • Additional £126 million for 40,000 more traineeships in England, funding high quality work placements and training for 16-24 year olds in 2021/22 academic year.
  • A new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme in England that will enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector.
  • A new 'Help to Grow' initiative, will provide £520 million to help SMEs recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting digital technologies and providing management training to boost productivity and innovation. The initiative contains two schemes: Help to Grow: Digital – this scheme will provide SMEs with discounted software and expert advice on how to best utilise it. Help to Grow: Management – this scheme will offer MBA-style management training to SMEs with the aim of increasing innovation and boosting growth.

Business and Investment

  • The rate of corporation tax will rise to 25% in 2023, but with protections for smaller businesses
  • A "super-deduction" to incentivise business investment will mean they can reduce their taxable income by 130% of the amount they invest.
  • The £375 million UK-wide ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ will invest in highly innovative companies such as those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or clean tech, that are aiming to raise at least £20 million of funding.
  • Reforms to the immigration system aimed at highly skilled migrants, including an unsponsored points-based visa for talent in science, research and tech, with new improved visa processes for entrepreneurs
  • Launching a review of Research & Development tax reliefs to make sure the UK remains a competitive location for cutting-edge research.
  • UK infrastructure investment bank to open in Leeds with £12bn.
  • The government launched a review of R&D tax reliefs at Budget 2021. This wide ranging consultation seeks views from stakeholders on the current R&D tax relief schemes.


  • GDP growth forecast for this year downgraded to 4% (from 5.5%) according to Office for Budget Responsibility.
  • Economy expected to return to pre-COVID levels by the middle of next year, six months earlier than previously thought.
  • Unemployment expected to peak at 6.5%, lower than the 11.9% forecast in July.
  • Economy will be 3% smaller in five years than it would have been.


  • An extra £1.65 billion cash injection to ensure the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out in England continues to be a success.
  • A further £5 million on top of a previous £9 million investment in clinical-scale mRNA manufacturing, to create a ‘library’ of vaccines that will work against Covid-19 variants for possible rapid response deployment
  • Furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September, with the government paying 80% of salary though employers will asked to put in 10% from July and 20% from August.

The Environment

  • £20 million to fund a UK-wide competition to develop floating offshore wind demonstrators and help support the government’s aim to generate enough electricity from offshore wind to power every home by 2030.
  • £68 million to fund a UK-wide competition to deliver first-of-a-kind long-duration energy storage prototypes that will reduce the cost of net zero by storing excess low carbon energy over longer periods.
  • £4 million for a biomass feedstock’s programme in the UK to identify ways to increase the production of green energy crops and forest products that can be used for energy.
  • Plans for at least £15 billion of green gilt issuance in the coming financial year, to help finance critical projects to tackle climate change and other environmental challenges, fund important infrastructure investment, and create green jobs across the UK.
  • £27 million in the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone and £5 million in the Global Underwater Hub in Scotland, the first stage in delivering the North Sea Transition Deal.
  • £4.8 million to support the development of a demonstration hydrogen hub in Holyhead, Anglesey.