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Government has vital role in increasing Research and Development

26 November, 2004

Sinn Féin economy spokesperson, national chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has said that the latest figures on Research and Development (R&D) expenditure showing an almost 7% drop demands government led action.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"While it is welcomed to see greater investment by the universities and greater numbers of people employed in Research and Development there is no escaping the consequences of an overall 6.6% decrease in R&D expenditure.

"The fact that there is a fall of £40 million in R&D within the business sector, particularly within manufacturing should send out a very serious warning to government that there is a sustained drift away from investment in these key areas in R&D. There needs to be a coherent strategic focus on how business is supported and encouraged to invest more in R&D.

"The future economic success of the economy demands that there is greater government led action to ensure that innovation can be developed and fully realised, particularly within indigenous businesses and within the manufacturing sector.

"Government has a vital role to play in ensuring that there is a greater investment in R&D. This requires a more flexible approach to the needs to all businesses and in particular a real examination of fiscal flexibility and the potential of targeted tax breaks linked to R&D." ENDS

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