Comment »Posted on Wednesday 9 December 2009 at 7:18 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Science Policy

Earlier today Alistair Darling announced Labour’s pre-Budget report. While most outlets have focused on increases in National Insurance and a tax on bankers bonuses, New Scientist point out that £600 million will be cut from higher education and science and research budgets.

I’m absolutely amazed that Labour are reducing science funding, while at the same time refusing to budge on wasteful schemes like ID cards or Trident nuclear missiles.

In the past year alone the Government has spent £81.5 million on developing biometric ID cards, and the final cost is expected to be £4.5 billion over a ten year period. This is despite the science behind biometrics not being fit for purpose.

Meanwhile, the cost of replacing our Trident nuclear missiles has been placed at £130bn over 30 years (though the Government says it will only be £20bn). This is counter to the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, if not the actual law, and a fantastic waste of money. Given the choice between expanding human knowledge, or maintaining the potential to blow people up, I know which I’d go for…

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