Income Tax and Research Expenditure

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 25th April 1944.

Alert me about debates like this

I believe that in what I propose, I am meeting all the reasonable claims of industry for adapting taxation policy to the development of industrial research. There is too much evidence that before the war we were falling behind other important industrial countries in the range, although not necessarily in the quality, of our industrial research and its application. As I have said the war has demonstrated to the world that the quality is there, and the war gave financial opportunities of an extended range. I am trying to carry forward, within practical limits, to the solution of our urgent peace-time problems of production, significant financial help. I have no doubt that industry will respond over a wide field. The ideal towards which we ought to move is a general practice by which each manufacturer devotes a contribution, measured by his own turnover, to the furtherance of scientific knowledge. I hope also that there will be a much wider pooling of ideas and technique in the development of research, even down to the production of what I have heard described as that mysterious catalyst the "know-how." In many fields we have a lot of leeway to make up, and co-operation is economical of time, money and skilled personnel, all of which will be in short supply, and in some cases very short supply, after the war. Further, I think that the industrial research worker should be encouraged to regard himself not only as serving the organisation which pays him, but as contributing to the sum of available knowledge, and enlarging the horizons of the material world. We must provide our research workers not only with the physical apparatus which supplies their needs, but with the motive which evokes their latent powers.