asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, of the money allocated for medical and scientific research, what proportion and how much was spent on sensory problems in the last year for which figures are available; how much was spent on the problems of (a) deafness and (b) sight; and if he will list the research projects concerned with deafness supported by his Department.
The Medical Research Council is the main Government agency for the promotion of scientific research in the United Kingdom. The council's annual report for the financial year 1983–84 indicates that the MRC allocated approximately £25 million to projects on (or which could prove relevant to) an understanding of vision, hearing, the central nervous system, the neuromuscular system, the cerebrovascular system and other sensory systems and pain. This represented about 22 per cent. of the MRC's grant-in-aid of £113·7 million in that year which itself constituted about 22 per cent. of the total science budget. The annual report shows that, of the total I have mentioned, £2·9 million is attributable to vision research and £2·2 million to hearing. I understand that the MRC is currently supporting about 50 projects on deafness, and I will write to the right hon. Member with details.I understand that research work on sensory problems, including hearing and deafness may also be conducted in universities and medical schools using funds allocated for teaching and research on the advice of the University Grants Committee, but comprehensive details of such work are not available.