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Research And Development

Volume 129: debated on Wednesday 9 March 1988

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what information he has as to what percentage of turnover is invested in research and development by (a) the electronics industry, (b) the chemical industry and (c) the pharmaceutical industry.

In 1985, expenditure by United Kingdom industrial enterprises on research and development they performed and financed from their own resources as a percentage of sales and work done, was as follows:

Per cent.
Products of the electronics industry, including office machinery and electronic data processing equipment6·5
Products of the chemical industry, excluding pharmaceutical products1·7
Pharmaceutical products10·2


To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what proportion of gross domestic product was spent on non-military research and development in Britain for the last year for which figures are available; and what is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average.

The latest available information relates to 1985 and is shown in the table. It was published in table 5.10 in the 1987 "Annual Review of Goverment Funded Research and Development (R and D)". The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) does not compile information on gross expenditure on R and D (GERD) for non-defence purposes for member countries. The figures given are rough estimates for certain countries. They are based on GERD, which is published by OECD for member countries, adjusted to eliminate expenditure on R and D for defence purposes, with the result expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).

Estimated GERD for civil purposes as a percentage of GDP in 1985
United Kingdom1·7
United States of America1·9
Federal Republic of Germany2·5
1 1984 estimate.
2 1983 estimate.


To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans he has to encourage a higher level of research and development expenditure by British industry.

A major objective of my Department's recently announced innovation policy is to encourage industry to fund more of its own R and D, as well as to encourage co-operation between companies and the academic science base. The Government have created the right climate to enable industry to invest more in R and D.


To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the code approved by the Accounting Standards Committee requiring disclosure in company accounts of spending on research and development; and what further plans he has to encourage greater commitment by companies to research and development.

The Accounting Standards Committee is considering the responses to its exposure draft 41 which proposed changes to its "Statement of Standard Accounting Practice 13", including a new requirement that company accounts should disclose expenditure on research and development. The Government support this proposal and we are hopeful that a revised standard will be agreed later this year.