Government science cuts spell economic doom

Boffins and geeks protested over the weekend against the cuts to science funding being proposed by Chancellor George Osborne.

Hundreds of scientists descended on the Treasury singing songs such as "Hey Osborne, leave our geeks alone," to the tune of Pink Floyd's Another Brick In The Wall.

The protest was organised by the Science is Vital campaign in a bid to save research grants from the axe which is expected to fall as part part of the ConDem Government's Comprehensive Spending Review, which is due on due on 20 October.

The Government is looking to implement cuts of over £80 billion in a swingeing action which is thought likely to decimate British business and society.

The Science is Vital campaign was started by Dr Jenny Rohn, a cell biologist from University College London. She told the protesters: "They really are thinking of dismantling UK science. It makes absolutely no sense. Science is a wonderful thing for society, we cure diseases, we build bridges, we make buildings, we send things into space, we do all these things that make our culture so great and Britain has punched above its weight."

Former head of the Medical Research Council, Professor Colin Blakemore, said cuts would be "disastrous".

"We should be asking ourselves why it is that the United States, Germany, France, Sweden, Singapore - countries that we have to compete with all around the world - are increasing their investment in science now," he said.

"And the answer is obvious - because they see that science is the key to innovation. It's therefore the key to the economy for the future. To cut science now would really be disastrous."

The forthcoming report from Research Councils UK will warn that a cut of £1 billion in scientific research funding would lead to a fall in GDP of more than £10 billion, according to a report in the Telegraph.