§ Mr. Dorrell
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are his plans for the Department's small grant scheme for processing spontaneous applications for research grants; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Whitney
Costs of the small grants scheme have risen from £207,000 in 1983–84 to an expected £340,000 this year and thus form a growing proportion of the Department's total research budget. This has had the inevitable effect of reducing the opportunities for developing the main commissioned research programme—in the priority areas. In order, therefore, to increase 155W the emphasis that is placed on these priority projects, no new applications to the small grants scheme are currently being considered. A decision on the future of the scheme will be made when the new chief scientist is appointed.