§ Mr. Page
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he has any plans to introduce legislation to require the annual accounts of companies to disclose expenditure on research and development.
§ Mr. Maude
As the Government's White Paper "Civil Research and Development" (Cm. 185 published in July 1987) made clear, we accept that there is a need to emphasise to shareholders arid managers the value of research development. It is for companies to ensure that their bankers and major shareholders understand the advantage of R and D. The reporting of R and D expenditure in annual accounts will promote this understanding. The case for disclosure is, however, mainly relevant to public companies. I therefore very much 113W welcome the decision of the Accounting Standards Committee to recommend a standard which would require such companies to disclose expenditure on R and D. Such a standard, if adopted by the accountancy bodies and complied with by public companies, would be preferable to legislation on this subject. I therefore hope that the ASC's recommendation will be acted on promptly.