Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Science and Technology Facilities Council
STFC, TO THE
16 DECEMBER 2009
Science and Technology Facilities Council: additional
Alan Thorpe has asked me to reply to the questions
that you have asked him in your letter of 7 December on questions
raised about STFC's finances when he attended the hearing of the
Committee on 2 December.
As you are aware, STFC's budget is dominated
by international subscriptions and facility operations; these
are largely fixed costs and, can so therefore it is difficult
to make substantial changes in the short-term, particularly in
a period when programme restructuring is required. Changes in
exchange rates, for example between the euro and the pound, exacerbate
the impact on STFC's overall finances. While STFC bears the first
£3 million (each year) of the impact of exchange rate movements,
we are compensated for the balance. BIS (formerly DIUS) has provided
£45 million in 2008-09 and 2009-10 to meet these additional
costs. These monies do not have to be repaid.
After the CSR07 settlement STFC borrowed £40
million, comprising £20 million of near cash in 2009-10 (out
of £26 million offered by BIS) and £20 million capital
in 2008-09. Following discussions with BIS (then DIUS) we agreed
to take the loans to help us with optimising our programme across
the CSR period. STFC will pay back the "loans" in the
next financial year and these are to be included in the development
of our 2010-11 budget.
As STFC works very closely with RCUK on the
allocation of resources within the science budget, decisions on
how these monies would have otherwise been spent would have been
taken in close consultation with them.
I hope that this clarifies the position.
Professor Keith Mason
Science and Technology Facilities Council