§ Mr. Robert Atkins
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on planned expenditure by the agricultural departments on research and development and advisory services.
§ Mr. Jopling
In the Government's expenditure plans, published today, provision for expenditure by the Agriculture Departments on research and development has been reduced by £10 million in 1986–87 and by £20 million in 1987–88 and on advisory services by £20 million in 1987–88. There are no reductions in planned expenditure for 1985–86. These changes reflect the Government's aim that industry should make a greater financial contribution towards research and development from which it benefits and to the cost of advisory services funded by the Agriculture Departments. As the White Paper makes clear, the figures are provisional and will be influenced by the progress made on the implementation of the Belt report and the scope for industry support of research undertaken by the public sector. The Agriculture Ministers have asked the Priorities Board on Research and Development in Agriculture and Food to consider and advise on the allocation of resources between the different sectors of agriculture and food research, taking account of future priorities for the direction of research and the scope and prospects for increased levels of industry funding.
The proposed reductions in expenditure will be shared between the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland. MAFF expects to reduce expenditure on research by about £8.25 million in 1986–87 and by £16.5 million in 1987–88 and to reduce expenditure on advisory services by about £16.5 million in 1987–88. Part of the reduction will be borne by fisheries research — about £500,000 in 1986–87 and £1 million in 1987–88.