The National Engineering Policy Centre has recommended six areas of investment to be prioritised ahead of the government’s 2021 Spending Review.
Made up of 42 organisations representing over 450,000 UK engineers, the National Engineering Policy Centre is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Its submission to the spending review recommends six ‘urgent’ actions described as vital to ensuring that the nation has the right skills in place to both grow and decarbonise the economy.
Recommendations for government include following through on the commitment to invest £22bn in R&D by 2024/2025, and investing in an ambitious net zero skills plan.
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“The 2021 Spending Review is one of the most important in a generation, coming at a time when the UK has to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic in a more regionally equal and environmentally friendly way,” said professor Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
“The scale and pace of change required of government with regard to policy and investment is unprecedented. The UK’s path to net zero and its ability to decarbonise at sufficient speed and scale is contingent upon urgent decisions made by government now, as well as on the development of a far-reaching and comprehensive transition plan.”
Recommendations to government:
- Follow through on the commitment to invest £22bn in R&D by 2024/2025
- Accelerate decision-making and investment in low-regrets actions needed for decarbonisation, including low-carbon retrofit and refurbishment of existing building stock, prioritising low-carbon heat and scaling up the EV charging network
- Establish a net zero delivery body to drive progress across government and industry, provide systems-level analysis and build a clear, evidence-based net zero vision
- Urgently invest in an ambitious net zero skills plan to enable rapid and affordable re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities for the existing workforce
- Invest in a long-term STEM education strategy, including boosting careers activities and teacher recruitment, and expanding technical education and engineering apprenticeships
- Embed long-term demand drivers into decision making on infrastructure investment