Science Update: Research funds cut

INVESTMENT in research and development by Britain's high- technology companies has fallen to its lowest level since the mid-Eighties, according to figures from the Central Statistical Office.

The latest issue of New Scientist reports that in 1991, British companies cut almost pounds 1bn from their research budgets, a drop of 10 per cent on 1990 after allowing for inflation.

Cuts in defence budgets and the recession are blamed for the fall in research spending.

A report from the Confederation of British Industry last week also concluded that only one in every 10 British companies was 'truly innovative'. The survey of 76 companies found that Britain had slipped to number 13, its lowest ranking ever, in a league that assesses the competitiveness of 22 industrialised nations.