§ Mr. Dell
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what requirements he imposes regarding the completion of non-departmental research projects which he finances; whether he is satisfied that these requirements are adhered to; whether there is non-productive expenditure; and how much.
§ Mr. Anthony Stodart
Non-departmental research projects or programmes financed by my Department fall mainly into two categories; those commissioned and paid for directly by the Ministry and those commissioned by grant-aided authorities receiving financial contributions from it.
Research falling into the first category is commissioned subject to conditions on completion dates, progress monitoring by the Ministry, and termination clauses in the event of unsatisfactory progress. Those projects or programmes commissioned by grant-aided authorities are treated according to individual circumstances. In most cases no special conditions are imposed by the Department once the authority's programme has been approved, but in some the Ministry monitor progress and make payments by instalment.
I believe that these arrangements balance the risk of non-productive expenditure against the needs and nature of research, and that very little non-productive expenditure is incurred.