R&D funds 'wasted on wrong schemes'

PRODUCTIVITY in British industry could fall even further behind competitors like Germany and the US unless the Government takes drastic steps to revamp the funding of research and development, according to a new report.

It said government spending on research had been too low and had not been geared towards commercial uses.

Nick Matthews, one of the authors, said: "Taxpayers have been robbed as millions have been wasted on schemes that have little relevance to British industry." Britain spent twice as much on agriculture as on industrial developm ent, he said.

Figures in the document, prepared by researchers at Warwick University for the Institute for Public Policy Research, show that British governments have spent a smaller share of GDP on research and development than other countries. It argues that the meagre funds available have been split between too many funding bodies.

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