Press release

Nick Clegg commits over £2 million to support Kew Gardens

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Deputy Prime Minister announces a further £2.3 million of funding to support Kew Gardens' botanical research and plant science.

The Deputy Prime Minister is today (Tuesday 16 December) announcing a further £2.3 million pounds of resource funding to support the important botanical research and plant science institution, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) in London.

In September, the Deputy Prime Minister agreed to maintain resource funding for the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, with £1.5 million initially provided for the years 2014 to 2015. The extra £2.3 million adds significant funding to the institution, maintaining a government level of resource funding until April 2016.

The announcement includes giving further freedoms and flexibility to Kew, allowing them to apply for preferential government loans for projects designed to maximise their income and support delivery of their strategic vision and financial stability.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

Kew is so much more than a garden and green space: its reputation as a botanical research base and centre for science is world-renowned. Balancing the books in this country has meant budgets are tight, but I’m delighted to be able to commit continued funding for Kew, as both a leading research hub and beautiful tourist attraction.

Supporting scientific excellence in the UK is a key part of strengthening Britain’s economy, and this government is focused on enabling research and development work to prosper across the country. This funding will support scientists to continue their world-class work at Kew, safe in the knowledge that this government supports their vital work and is committing funds to support it.”

Notes to editors

Kew Gardens in Richmond upon Thames is a vital research and scientific base, employing over 700 people, with multiple research projects and partnerships across the globe. Kew Gardens, which covers 326 acres or the equivalent of 150 football pitches, attracts over 1.3 million visitors every year. The World Heritage Site is renowned globally as a botanical research and education facility. Together with its West Sussex site, Wakehurst, it is home to over 19,000 species of living plants.

RBG Kew also holds the world’s largest collection of fungal specimens (over 1.25 million), and its Millenium Seed Bank protects over 4,000 species from extinction every year.

80% of our calorie intake comes from just 12 plant species. Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank’s Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change project recognises the need for greater genetic diversity in our crops and seeks to preserve future food security. The project collects seeds from the wild relatives of some of our most important food crop plants whose genetic make up can be used to breed new and useful traits back into modern agricultural cultivars so that they can better adapt to future climates and other threats, such as pests and diseases.

For more information please contact Louisa Sampson on 07789 174 865.