The UK’s nanotech centres, receipients of GBP 50 million (roughly about 79.5 million dollars) under the previous Labour Party government, may become victims of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition government’s plans to reduce the UK budget deficit.
Appearing before the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on July 23, 2010, Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willetts stated that the UK’s nanotech research centres were "most unlikely" to be open in 18 months. Britian’s Science Department, as with all Cabinet Departments, is facing budget cuts of between 25% – 40%. Under the Coalition government, Britain’s regional development agencies (RDAs), under which the nanotech and other research centres fall, would be abolished and replaced by "Local Enterprise Partnerships" (LEPs) These LEPs would be fewer and more centralized. The RDAs have been criticized for being "redundant and too expensive".
During his appearance before the Science and Technology Committee Mr. Willetts described the not yet established LEPs as "an effective device for supporting economic growth which includes initiative industries in the regions and local communities". He also suggested the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills would look into potential tax incentives for British industies to support science research.
The UK government is expected to publish a comprehensive budget review in October.