3 Resources

3.15 Business spend on R&D

Why is it significant?

Expenditure on R&D is one measure of the extent to which business is developing and exploiting new technology and ideas.  Expenditure on R&D by industry has also been shown to generate important spillover benefits for other firms and society as a whole.  

How does the UK perform?

The UK's overall performance in terms of business spend on R&D is poor.  The UK business sector spends less per worker on R&D than most of its major competitors’ business sectors (Chart 3.15.1).  Since 1991 the trend has been broadly flat for the UK, in contrast with a rising trend elsewhere. UK R&D per worker in 1999 is largely the same as it was in 1991.

UK business spending on R&D as a proportion of value added is above Germany in the medium-to-low technology sector and marginally above Japan and Germany in the high-technology sector (Chart 3.15.2). However, the UK’s performance in the low-technology sector is particularly poor compared with Japan and the US. 

Last updated on 12 March 2002