§ Mr. D. E. Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much was spent by his Department on research during the last year for which figures are available; and what proportion was spent in Wales.
§ Mrs. Currie
The Department spent over £18 million on research and development in 1985–86, of which about 3.4 per cent. was spent in Wales. In addition much of the Department's programme carried out in England benefits Welsh services.
§ Mr. Pawsey
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has yet reached a decision about the future of his Department's small grants scheme for consideration of spontaneous applications for the support of research; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Currie
Following the appointment of the Department's new chief scientist, the future of the small grants scheme has been considered by the recently formed Departmental Research Committee. I have accepted the committee's recommendations that the scheme should be discontinued, having regard to the increasing proportion of the funds available for commissioning new research which it has consumed in recent years, and the fact that the temporary suspension of fresh grants announced in a reply given by my predecessor to my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Dorrell) on 24 June at columns154–55 has created no difficulties in the administration of the Department's research programme. Projects already receiving support will be carried through to their conclusion. Spontaneous applications for new research grants will still be considered by the Department, but will be dealt with in the context of the overall research programme and priorities.