Planning and Development

Oral Answers to Questions — Scientific and Industrial Research – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th December 1957.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North 12:00 am, 17th December 1957

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what progress has been made in the implementation of the five-year plan for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research; and in what respects the implementation of that plan has been delayed.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

The first 3½ years of the five-year plan of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research have now been completed. The activities of the Department have developed and are developing broadly along the lines planned; for example, at the end of 1957–58, the fourth year of the plan, it is estimated that the staff will have increased by about 750 out of a planned increase of 800, though the Department, in common with all other employers of scientific and technical staff, has not been able to recruit all the specialist staff it requires. The provision of new buildings has also fallen behind, largely due to restriction on capital expenditure, but by the end of the year about half the planned building programme will have been completed.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

While appreciating the difficulties, may I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to keep this under review, because it is a department of his activities in which we cannot afford to lag behind.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

I can assure the House that my noble friend takes a keen and continual interest in this point.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, whether the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research has yet been requested to prepare its second five-year plan.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

The plans of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research for the five-year period, 1959–64, are at present in course of preparation within the Department and are being considered by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The Council expects to be submitting proposals to my noble Friend before long.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

While thanking the hon. Member for his reply, may I ask him to indicate to the D.S.I.R. that this is a matter in which we cannot afford to be unambitious?

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

The D.S.I.R. itself decides whether or not to take this forward look. It does not have to wait for any instruction from any Government Department.