Research and Development (R&D) in the UK received a £17.6bn investment from businesses last year, which is an 8% increase when compared with 2010.
Computer programming and information services were the biggest recipients of this cash, with a 19% increase to £293m, while investment in the motoring industry went up by 23% and the pharmaceutical sector received a 4% increase in R&D to £169m.
Defence was also received high levels of investment with a 10% increase in R&D last year, which was driven primarily by Government contracts with businesses to develop air and sea vessels including ships and submarines.
ONS commented: “While R&D is often thought of as synonymous with high-tech firms that are on the cutting edge of new technology, many established consumer goods companies spend large sums of money, on a systematic basis, improving existing products.”
Telecommunications firms spent £1.1bn on R&D in 2011, which accounts for 6% of the total business expenditure, while machinery and equipment companies spent £970m.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed the expenditure on R&D accounted for 1.1% of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product, which is in line with previous years.
ONS also announced that last year, the split between foreign and domestic-owned R&D companies in the UK had become even for the first time ever.