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