HC Deb 09 February 1981 vol 998 cc288-9W
Mr. Cant

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of the recently announceed 1981–82 science budget of £343 million is computer-related.

Mr. Macfarlane

In distributing the science budget to its recipient bodies, my right hon. and learned Friend does not specify what proportions are to be spent on particular areas of research.

In 1980–81 the science and social science research councils, which are the research councils principally concerned, expect to spend about £17.8 million and 0.6 million respectively on research grants, research contracts, in-house research and postgraduate student awards which are directly related to computers. Both these councils expect their total expenditure in this field in 1981–82 to be in the same order.

In addition, (1) expenditure which is to some degree, though less directly, computer-related is being incurred in 1980–81, and is likely to be incurred again in 1981–82, as a component of other research grants, research contracts and postgraduate student awards made by all the recipient bodies of the science budget: and (2) there bodies also purchase computer systems out of their allocations from the science budget for their own administrative and scientific purposes. The amounts likely to be spent on these activities could not be ascertained without disproportionate cost to my Department.