R & D boost for UK

The 1999 Research and Development Scoreboard, published recently by the DTI, shows Britain’s engineering and machinery companies spent just over £564 million on R&D in 1998, 12% more than in the previous year.

Despite this increase, only 1.6% of sales was spent on R&D, compared to an international average of 3.3%. Newly merged Invensys, was Britain’s biggest R & D investor; ranking sixth in the international table.

Norman Price, an industrialist on secondment to the Innovation Unit, said that one of the reasons why British companies are not spending as much on R & D is that `… many of our largest companies are not in sectors which require heavy R & D investment as a proportion of sales to be successful.’