The European Commission has approved a Dutch scheme which aims to stimulate R&D activities by lowering companies' employment costs in respect of research personnel. The scheme, which was introduced in 1994, reduces labour taxes on research personnel. All companies engaged in R&D, as well as independent researchers, are potential beneficiaries under the scheme, with some 7,305 benefiting in 1996. The total tax reduction is estimated to be worth HFL 500 million (ECU 230 million) in 1997. The Commission has decided that the measure does not constitute a state aid, and has therefore approved it.