Britain’s reputation as the home of good ideas takes a knock

pharma300Britain’s long held boast that it rules the waves with its bright ideas, even though it may fall short when it comes to making the most of them, is in danger of faltering.

New official data published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that UK manufacturing sector expenditure on R&D fell 3.6% in 2012. Manufacturing accounts for 72% of total business expenditure on R&D which itself fell 3.8%.

The pharmaceutical industry, for which the UK is an important and historically much favoured research base, drove the contraction with a fall in research expenditure of £727 million (15%).

Defence R&D expenditure decreased by 10% in 2012 to £1.6 billion, partly due to government contracts awarded to UK businesses for the development of aircraft, naval ships, submarines and their systems and equipment moving from the research to production stages.

However, there was strong growth in a number of sectors, notably electrical machinery, transport equipment, and aerospace.

Commenting on the data, EEF director of policy Steve Radley said: “Today’s data is a clear reminder that the UK has some way to go to catch up with our international competitors. The fall in expenditure does follow a strong increase in 2011, and the latest figures show pockets of strong growth in sectors such as motor vehicles.”

Copyright Ken Hurst 2013


About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
This entry was posted in Aerospace & defence, Automotive, chemical, Electronics, Government/statistics, Innovation, Manufacturing management, Pharma, R&D and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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