M. Holland, via Wikimedia Commons
George Osborne's Budget has protected science and technology.
Unlike Barack Obama's State of the Union address back in February, George Osborne's Budget this week (March 20th) gleaned no such encouraging sound bites about the 3D printing industry.
But just because the chancellor of the exchequer failed to mention 3D printing or additive manufacturing directly does not mean the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition's financial plans for the UK will not affect the growing industry.
Mr Osborne's speech set out the importance of investing in research and development (R&D), which goes hand in hand with the government's plans for nurturing science and technology from a grassroots level.
April will bring two new government initiatives to science and technology, the R&D Expenditure Credit and the Patent Box.
The chancellor announced a surprise increase in R&D expenditure from 9.1 per cent to ten per cent, which is welcome, as it represents a real-terms benefit over the existing R&D Tax Relief.
Patent Box, meanwhile, enabled companies to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned after April 1st 2013 from its patented inventions and certain other innovations. The relief will be brought in stage by stage from next month, while a lower rate of Corporation Tax will be ten per cent.
3D printing start-ups and smaller outfits are set to benefit from the Budget, as the chancellor has renewed his commitment to protecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has extended its warm welcome to the Budget, as it will create an employer's allowance which will mean SMEs will not have to pay National Insurance Contributions under £2,000. The FSB believes this will give small firms the confidence to expand.
"This Budget opens the door for small firms to grow and create jobs. The chancellor has pulled out all the stops with a wide-ranging package of measures to support small firms," stated John Walker, national chairman of the FSB.
It is the science and technology budget that has succeeded in escaping the worst effects of austerity, with the 2010 spending review ringfencing some £4.6 billion for research, when the industry had been steeling itself for cuts of almost one-third.
Since then, the coalition has made its support for science and innovation clear, and in November of last year Mr Osborne told the Royal Society that he wants to make "Britain the best place in the world to do science".
However, science and technology have not escaped the recessions unscathed - and with the triple-dip on the horizon the industry is far from out of the woods.
Cuts to capital expenditure left the research budget facing a £1.7 billion shortfall over the four years of the Spending Review, the Guardian reports, while inflation continues to chip away at budgets.
But for now, science and technology sector businesses can exhale knowing they could have come out of this month's Budget much worse off.