Biological Research

Oral Answers to Questions — Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st May 1963.

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Photo of Mr Cyril Bence Mr Cyril Bence , Dunbartonshire East 12:00 am, 21st May 1963

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what further consideration he has now given to the report of the ad hoc Committee on Biological Research, published as Appendix B in the Annual Report of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy, 1961–62.

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

As I informed the hon. Member in reply to his Question of 19th March, substantial increases are envisaged in the expenditure of the Agricultural and Medical Research Councils and of the Nature Conservancy and of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research on grants for biological research during the coming year. The Advisory Council made clear in its Report that many of the matters touched on by the Royal Society Committee call for action within the universities. Matters of organisation will be further considered in the light of the findings of the Committee on the Organisation of Civil Science.

Photo of Mr Cyril Bence Mr Cyril Bence , Dunbartonshire East

Can the hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that it is not shortage of money from the Treasury or the University Grants Committee which leads to the phenomenon of an enlarged biological section of the university and yet a static situation in biological research?

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

I do not think that there is a static situation. The bodies for which my noble Friend is responsible have substantially increased expenditure on biology.

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

The hon. Gentleman may say that it is not a static situation. But he knows full well that in the Report —[HON. MEMBERS: "Question."] Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the Report the amount stated to be the minimal requirement is double the amount of money for biological research? Is it the intention of the Government to double the amount of money and increase the number of posts and to carry out not merely the money requirements but all the other requirements referred to in the Report, which was a devastating exposure of the inadequacy of biological research in this country?

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

As I told the House, expenditure by the bodies for which my noble Friend is responsible has been increasing. The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the increased grants being made to universities which were announced only last week. Regarding the second part of the hon. Gentleman's Question, this is an independent Report by scientists who are responsible to themselves, and it is not incumbent on the Government to support their recommendations in every particular.