Orders of the Day — Science and Education

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1963.

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Photo of Mr Herbert Bowden Mr Herbert Bowden , Leicester South West 12:00 am, 19th November 1963

I beg to move at the end of the Question, to add: but humbly regret that the Gracious Speech contains no effective proposals to ensure the full utilisation of the nation's scientific resources and manpower; or to deal adequately with the problems hindering educational progress at all stages".

3.39 p.m.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

The whole House will agree that today's debate is one of the most important that we have had for a long time. I regret, as I think the whole House does, that the Prime Minister has not seen fit to announce that he will speak in this debate, which is wholly related to the modernisation of Britain in the scientific age, since he has personally identified himself with this theme and since it constitutes the big difference, so we are told, between his Government and that of his predecessor.

But while, apparently, the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to proclaim this modernisation issue in Crieff, Auchterardar, Perth cattle market and the Mansion House, he seems unwilling to give his ideas in detail to the perhaps more critical House of Commons. It is necessary to remind him that the long overdue modernisation of this country, especially industry, will not be achieved by incantations or by slogans. What is needed is the gold backing of policy, drive and modern, vital, social attitudes in tune with the scientific age—attitudes totally lacking in him and his colleagues. Without these attitudes and these policies he will not succeed in convincing the rest of us that, after all these years, the Government really mean business.

Whatever differences there may be in policies—and we shall be debating the policies this afternoon; I intend to spend a lot of time on them—whatever differences there may be in priorities, there should be no differences about objectives, the vital need to mobilise the talents of this nation, its skill and science, its ingenuity and its power of innovation, not only to enhance our economic strength, but to strengthen the voice of this country in the world. The whole House agrees that the world does not owe us a living. We live now neither on nostalgia nor past investments. We live, or we perish, on our skilland our science. This means, quite simply, that we have to have more trained people and that we have to use them more efficiently.

This means what we have not had—a purpose in education, a purpose in science, a purpose in applying the results of science to industry. It is because we have to widen the area of opportunity to all our people, to all the nation's children, that in this Amendment we link education with science. I begin with education, not only higher education and not only Robbins. The great danger is that in their sudden, death-bed preoccupation with higher education the Government will ignore the educational base which underlies the superstructure of higher education, that, rightly, they will be concerned with the thousands and, wrongly,will ignore the millions. In space-age language, higher education is the final stage in a three-stage rocket and, however successfully that stage may be developed, if we ignore the other stages, we shall never get off the ground.

What the Robbins Report shows is that on the basis of the present and foreseeable proportion of sixth formers having the right qualifications for entry to universities and other colleges, we shall need a tremendous drive if we are to create enough places by the middle of the late 1970s. The second thing that the Report shows is the culpable negligence of the Government in entirely failing to forecast the need for places in higher education and to make adequate provision for the immediate needs of the mid-1960s.

I will come to this question later, but I must make it clear now that even the Robbins programme, imaginative and formidable though it is, fails to make provision for the products of the educational revolution that we need in our primary and secondary school system. The plain fact is that the sixth formers with whom the Report deals are only a fraction of those who could acquire the qualifications for higher education if we tackle the problem where our neglect and sloth have been greatest—in the schools.

For example, the 11-plus. To segregate the nation's children at the age of II and to decide a child's entire educational future at that age is not only to commit a wrong against a child in its denial of educational opportunity, but a wrong against Britain, because it means that three-quarters of the nation's children are virtually cut off from the chance of higher education by an arbitrary decision taken at the age of 11, save in the exceptional case or in those cases where access becomes possible through a comprehensive system. These cases are still rare enough to make the headlines when they occur. It is still a headline when a child who has failed the 11-plus, in the fashionable jargon, manages to get education in some other way and gets entry to university.

There is one thing that I am sure about—and the Prime Minister will take this point, as a former Foreign Secretary—and that is that our main industrial rivals, the United States, the Soviet Union and Western Germany, do not permit this segregation atthe age of 11 and do not cut off from higher education three-quarters of their nation's children, because they know that they cannot afford to do it, and if they cannot, we, in this highly ruthless competitive age, cannot afford to do it either. Who are we to say, any of us, that a child's future shall be determined by his success one cold Saturday morning in February, by his success in a so-called intelligence test which, as far as I can see, does not prove more than that a child has or has not the same kind of warped mind as the professor who devised the intelligence test? Future historians, looking back on this system of educational apartheid, will describe it as a barbarity unfitted to a civilised nation. It has a great bearing on the question of the entry to higher education.

In his recent Guildhall lecture, Professor Blackett has shown how the children of manual workers, just as intelligent as those of professional workers, do not arrive at die point of entry to universities in anything like the same proportion. He said: It is clear that these vital, missing bright children of worker families, do not knock on the university door and get rejected: they just don't knock. Nor can we conduct an educational advance with present Government attitudes to school building. The Newsom Report description of the slum schools, which we still allow to fester in city, town and village, is a section of the Report to make right hon. Gentlemen opposite blush. We have a new round of promises in the matter of school building, though it is worth commenting that the Government did not honour their 1958 promises in respect of school building. They are all expansionists now, but what of the cuts year by year in the local education authority building programmes? Even this year, the year before a General Election, local authorities asked for permission to start school building in 1964–65 worth £188 million, but the Minister of Education announced in March, this year, that permission to start schemes was not £188 million, but £43 million, and 44 local authorities have no authorisations at all to build.

We know the Minister of Education's answer. For some reason, the Minister is not speaking in this debate. I suppose that he has had to stand down to accord equality of misery to Lord Hailsham, but we know what answer he would give if he could catch your eye this afternoon, Mr. Speaker. His answer to the 60 deputations who came to see him after his rejection of their building programmes was that local education authority programmes were unreal, that they were "trying it on." This statement by the Minister is a libel.

Every one of us knows of urgently needed schools which are deferred by the Minister's decision into never-never. I can think of a small school in my constituency in a slum-cleared area where the newly rehoused children have to travel nearly two miles to their old school, which, by this time, should have been blown up anyway. The Lancashire County Council does not even put this school on the list, because there are even higher priority cases, and even those higher priority cases have been turned down by the Minister.

On the question of city centres; because of the needs of new housing estates, fine new schools have to be built on the outskirts of our cities, or there would be no schools for the children to go to, but because programmes have been so restricted by the Ministry, no progress can be made by some of the big cities in clearing slum schools in the city and in down-town areas, many of them condemned very many years ago. Are these local education authority programmes inflated? The Director of Education for Liverpool says: Liverpool could cope with a programme twice the size with the greatest ease and could, I am confident, manage programmes very much larger than that. This is in an area of heavy unemployment, but school building is not allowed.

The Director of Education for Leicestershire says: It is, of course, utter nonsense to accuse us of putting in our programmes 'inflationary projects'; every single one conforms to the yardstick of basic need. The Director of Education for Lincolnshire says: Many classes have to be held in huts erected temporarily in 1919 and condemned by inspectors as long ago as 1948. Both there and elsewhere classrooms are too small. At a rough estimate there are upwards of 30 boys at any one time who cannot see the blackboards. Nationally, the N.U.T. survey this year shows what is the position. Children in more than half the primary schools are using buildings built in the nineteenth century; well over half have no separate dining rooms; nearly half have no assembly hall and 43 per cent, have only outside lavatories. It shows that 40 per cent, of all secondary modern schools were built before the First World War, that half have no dining rooms, 45 per cent, no gymnasium, 28 per cent, no library and that one in three are so overcrowded that accommodation away from the main school site has to be used.

The Newsom Report—and that Report was not given the build-up which the Robbins Report received—said that 40 per cent, had buildings which must be condemned as seriously inadequate. In what it called the decaying centres of big cities, 79 per cent, of secondary schools were seriously inadequate. This is Britain in 1963.

What have the modernisers been doing all this time? Do they deny these facts? This is a doctrinal point. In the lean years between elections the Government cut school programmes. They cut them because they are public investments and are plannable and controllable. But they do not, at the same time, cut out luxury buildings—offices, built as a speculation. They do not cut out some of the less essential parts of city centre development, because that is private and it makes a profit.

This is their language of priorities. It is just as much a question of priority to cut the one and have no policy of control over the other as it is to take a straight decision that one is more important. Because it all comes out of the same national pool, £1 million spent on less essential building is £1 million less spent on essential building.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster

You want building controls?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I would point out to the hon. Member that we have building controls.I have been describing the effect of them. We have a strict Government building control on schools that are needed.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster

Would not the implication of what the right hon. Gentleman is now proposing be the restoration of the physical building controls abandoned by the Tory Government ten years ago?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I will answer the hon. Member absolutely flatly. If it means a choice between building a school and not building a school, on the one hand, and some less essential building, on the other, we shall introduce controls to see that the schools are built. I say this to the hon. Member, because he should be taking this subject seriously—

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

—and we have said it many times—that if, in order to realise essential programmes, it is necessary to hold up the starting dates of less essential work, we shall do it. The policy of this Government is to hold back on essential work so that the less essential can go ahead.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Thompson Mr Kenneth Thompson , Liverpool, Walton

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what was the rate of school building when we did have building controls?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

During the four or five years after the Second World War it was considerably higher than it was after the First World War, when the Conservatives were in office. [Interruption.] If hon. Members opposite are going to go on relying on the world shortages a year or two after the war they are getting hard up for arguments.

The question of teacher supply I shall leave to my hon.Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), if he catches your eye, Mr. Speaker. The House will recognise that that is as grave a problem as the problem of providing school building, if not a greater one.

I want to turn to the Robbins Report. We do not regard this debate on the Amendment as the full debate which must be provided before long on the Robbins Report, the Newsom Report and the long-neglected Crowther Report.

First, I want to deal with the immediate crisis referred to in the Robbins Report. In the House last week the Prime Minister said—as he said repeatedly in the Kinross by-electionOur aim is quite plain and it can be expressed in a sentence. It is that every father and mother in the country should know that if they have in the family a child who wishes to pursue a course of higher education, there should be a place at technical college or university for that boy or girl to fill. That is the right hon. Gentleman's objective. Let me give him some facts. They might not have been included in the briefing that he got from his hon. Friend from the J. Walter Thompson Agency, who helped him through the by-election. [Interruption.] This is not Colman Prentis and Varley. He gets Walter Thompson in one ear and Colman Prentis and Varley in the other.

In 1954, 73 per cent, of those with the right qualifications for entry to universities found places, and we still have a long way to go to catch up with other countries. We had the highest figure, of 75 per cent, in 1957. The last figure available was 61 per cent. In 1962–63, it would almost certainly be lower than that. We are now moving into a crisis period, where places will be gravely deficient. During the three years beginning 1965 there will be a shortage of 18,000 in the first year, 20,000 in the second, and 25,000 in the third, a total deficiency of 63,000 places. There will be 63,000 students who are denied places in higher education to which their qualifications entitle them—for one reason only—that the Government failed to provide those places.

It cannot be said that the need was not known. Even this Government could calculate the numbers likely to reach the age of 18 in 1965 based on the birth rate for eighteen years before that. It is not a difficult calculation. To fail to make this calculation, and to wash their hands of the affair and wait two-and-a-half years for Robbins to report is an act of unparalleled frivolity.

I am not acquitting the Robbins Committee entirely. It should have put in an emergency interim report on the immediate crisis. But if it did not volunteer it, the Government ought to have insisted on it. This has happened with the Police Commission and many times before on other occasions. Or the Government should have dealt with the crisis themselves by taking urgent action at what was admittedly the eleventh hour. By waiting till now they are past the eleventh hour. In terms of the university entry crisis it is now ten minutes past twelve—almost too late to do anything.

Last Tuesday I referred to the debate initiated by Hugh Gaitskell in this House on 5th April, 1962—eighteen months ago. I was sorry that in his speech last week the Prime Minister did not reply to this point. I want to repeat the question, and I hope that we shall get an answer from the Chief Secretary this afternoon. If the Government now accept the need for this unprecedented expansion programme for university entry, and also accept the cost involved, both in money and real resources, why is it that only eighteen months ago the Government rejected the much more conservative expansion plans of the University Grants Committee? Why did they take their supporters into the Division Lobby on the argument that the country would be bankrupt if it found the extra few million pounds that were needed? Here, in the House of Commons, tile then Chief Secretary made the point that it would be inflation and that we could not afford all this.

There was a debate in the House of Lords. We find that the Prime Minister then voted with the Government. He voted against the expansion proposed by the University Grants Committee. We must now ask the Government how they justify this sudden reversal between eighteen months ago and the present time. The Home Secretary—then Chief Secretary—referring to the programme that the Government were allowing, said: we shall be entitled to say that no one has had a reduced chance of getting to a university through being born in the top year of the bulge the most difficult time of all, when we are at the peak of the bulge, the opportunities of higher education for each young man and woman should be significantly greater than today. It will be a great British achievement ". This was the Chief Secretary, stating flatly that there would be no reduced chance, because of the bulge, in the period 1965–67. Now we have the Robbins Report and we see that that statement involved totally misleading the House—although the figures were available to the Government.

The Minister of Education then said: If the universities can match with student places this rise of 35 per cent, over five years, then we shall be entitled to say, as my right hon. Friend said today, that no one has had a reduced chance of getting to a university through being born in the top year of the bulge. That would be an achievement of which the nation could feel rightly proud."—[Official Report, 5th April, 1962; Vol. 657, c. 738–72.] It would, but it has not been achieved. So the Government have some explaining to do on this, and we shall expect the Chief Secretary to answer it where the Prime Minister failed to do so.

There is one other thing that they must explain, and I hope that we shall be told the position clearly, because there has been rather a conspiracy of silence about it. We all recognise, do we not, even if we did not eighteen months ago, the acute pressure on university entrance? We all know of highly-qualified students who, this year, failed to secure entrance to higher education even though they had the necessary qualifications that would have got them into higher education a year ago.

Will the Government explain the circular issued on 18th September by the University Clearing House? I should like to have the Chief Secretary's attention here, because I want him to reply to this point—although I know that the Minister of Education is just giving him the answer to the last one. The University Clearing House issued a circular, and I think that the Government might begin in their attack on this problem by publishing it because up to now it has been a closely guarded secret and practically impossible to get hold of—

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

How did the right hon. Gentleman get it then?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

This is not a State document, although it reveals a scandalous state of affairs, for which not only are the Government responsible but the tax payers'money has been involved. If the hon. Gentleman would like to see it, I will pass it to the Prime Minister and ask him to circulate it in the Official Report, when we can all see it. The Circular, referring to science and mathematics—and we all know the difficulty of training enough mathematicians and the sheer impossibility of recruiting mathematics teachers for secondary modern schools—said that earlier this year mathematics students were told that they could not get into university mathematical faculties unless they had Grade I, or Grade A at A level.

Many of them went into other jobs. Many of them, as we all know, because they did not think they would make that other grade, went in for another course—general science, or the like. So we lost a number of potential mathematicians because they were told that the places would not be available.

On 18th September the University Clearing House panicked. It found that hundreds of places were empty for the new academic year. Headmasters were circularised and told that there were now places for D and E level passes for which the pupils concerned should apply quickly. After the B, C and D levels had been turned away—many of them lost for all time—the University Clearing House panicked, and said that the situation was so urgent that pupils should apply for university entrance on a postcard, because letters might take longer to open—or longer to get through. This really is a public scandal, and I would maintain that its concealment is a public scandal. I challenge the Government to publish the circular, and explain, as they should—it is their responsibility—what went wrong in this case.

As I have said, we shall need a further debate, and I intend now to make only a brief comment on the broader aspects of the Robbins Report. First, we welcome not only the imagination and scope and sweep of the Report, but many of the detailed proposals—and not least the proposal that colleges of advanced technology should award degrees and that training colleges should be brought into the degree field, too. We have pressed for both of those for years—both, I may say, were in the Taylor Report published earlier this year—and we really must end this spurious intellectual snobbery in the technological age.

Secondly, we are anxious about the scant regard paid by the Robbins Committee to further education as opposed to higher education, and in this connection we press the urgent need for our proposal for a university of the air.

Thirdly—and, frankly, I do not like saying this—I must express reservations about the Robbins Committee's calculations of residential accommodation. Of course, we support in principle the idea of adequate in-college or hostel accommodation in our universities—and in the old ones—because "digs", which in many cases, are very hard to get in many university centres today, or living at home, are not really adequate for a university education. But for the Robbins Committee to propose that two-thirds of all students in the expansion programme should be provided with residential accommodation means, however welcome it may be as an idea, that we may be making the best the enemy of the good.

We live, we must admit, in a world of limited means to meet illimitable needs, and every hostel so built may mean less direct provision of university premises. I wish that we could have both—I hope that we can have both—but I very much fear that if we go for hostels we shall get less university accommodation. As I say, as an old university teacher I hate saying it, but in the expansion period we must make more provision for students living at home if otherwise it means that the boy in Bristol or Newcastle must come to London, or the boy in London must go to Exeter or Manchester. None of us likes the suggestion, but if we can have more students going to local colleges we shall get more students in total. We should, therefore, think not only of increasing the approved lodging allowances, but of providing adequate lodging allowances for home students.

In dealing with school and higher education, we have been concerned, obviously, not just with scientists, but with all forms of education—science, humanities, technology, art and commerce. I now turn to the special problem of science and scientists. We have four problems here: the training of scientists, holding them in this country, using them more intelligently, and ensuring a greater success in applying the results of scientific research to industry. The training and supply of scientists, engineers and technologists is a function of our educational proposals at every level and, let us be frank, some of the great scientists of the future will be found among the social classes which, so far, have not been knocking on the door.

But we have the great problem of keeping our scientists here when they are trained. I shall not weary the House with the figures of the "brain exodus", but will just recall that the Royal Society inquiry this year recorded that the rate of permanent emigration of recent Ph.D.s is now 12 per cent, of the annual output; that of university staffs is 1 per cent, of the total capital stock of university teachers; and that, in the past year, the University of Sheffield alone lost the professor, a lecturer and a fellow in physics, almost the entire staff, of the department of biochemistry—including a professor, a reader, a senior lecturer and an assistant lecturer—a lecturer in inorganic chemistry, a lecturer in economics and a senior lecturer in statistics.

We all know that many of the scientists who are going from our academic life or from our industrial life are men of the very highest calibre and quality. This has been proved in some interviews that have taken place by authorities going from this country trying to persuade some of them to come back. As has been said, we are not selling the seed corn in the matter of the "brain drain"—we are giving it away.

For all these grave problems we have the explanation of Lord Hailsham which, I must say, for complacency and irresponsibility is possibly the most crass we have had from any Minister in the last twelve years. This really is the language of superlatives. He blamed it on the deficiencies of the American educational system. He is, of course, wrong—the fault lies not in the deficiencies, of the American educational system, but in the deficiencies of the British industrial system, and in the Government's cheeseparing attitude to the provision of facilities for university research. Since I referred to this at Scarborough, I have had many letters—and I am sure that many other hon. Members have received many letters, also—from many emigre British scientists. And I would refer hon. Members to a recent lengthy testimony published in the Listener, a week or two ago.

What are the reasons they give? Salary? Yes, but in the universities it is principally the difference in the provision for research and teaching between North America and this country. In industry, is it salary? Yes, again, but it is much more a question of status and prospects. Not long ago I spent an evening in America with a group of British scientists who had left this country. One of them said that the reason was simply that in his field he had, being in his twenties, no chance of promotion in the firm until the man above him, in his fifties,reached retirement age—or, perhaps, had a coronary thrombosis.

This raises the whole question of the use of scientists, and the status that we should give them. Until very recently, more than half of our scientists were employed on defence, or so-called defence—on the vain search for Britain's independent missile—and it would be interesting if the Government were to tell us, in this day of Britain's struggle to catch up on science, how many man-years highly-qualified scientists and engineers spent on projects, missiles or aircraft, which were cancelled as obsolete before ever leaving the drawing board. We gather that there are one or two more on the list this week.

The problem now, therefore, is to mobilise our scientists, our existing scientists and the increasing number we hope to train, for production research, above all in civil industry, because it is in civil industry that the battle for Britain's survival will be fought. This battle—if I can get right hon. Gentlemen opposite to understand this—will not be won on any playing field. It will be won in the technical colleges and the technological faculties and Government research centres and the research laboratories both of public and private industry; and there will be no room for amateurs. It is a grim struggle now with the players in industrial research.

I do not think that any hon. Member will underrate in the debate what survival in the technological age will mean. The fifteen years from 1960 to 1975 are seeing and will see technological changes on a scale transcending the industrial revolution of the last 150 years. I will not worry the House with examples which I have given elsewhere of the American programme —controlled machine tool line with an Impulse cycle of one-300 millionth of a second, process control systems which, without the intervention of human skill, can reproduce more machine tools in their own image. We have just read of developments in the American glass industry where 14 men can produce 90 per cent, of all the electric lamp bulbs and radio valves required in the whole of the United States.

I expect that since his Mansion House speech the Prime Minister will have gone further in the question of automation. He will have realised that it is not one more process in mechanisation, if, by mechanisation, we mean the replacement of human muscle by machinery. What we mean by automation is the replacement of hitherto unique functions of memory and selected judgment by scientific means, and doing this with a speed and in a way which goes beyond the capacity of any human being or group of human beings who have ever lived.

I do not need to remind the House of the social problems created in an automation age, not least that of unemployment. The United States has now as many unemployed in boom conditions as a few years ago it had in the depth of depression. There is almost a law of increasing unemployment in automation, and the impact is on white-collar workers equally with or even more than manual workers. Worst of all, the impact of unemployment as automation proceeds is greatest on the oldest workers and the youngest workers. We cannot escape automation. We all understand that if we try we shall become a stagnant industrial backwoods—and automation of itself will increase juvenile unemployment.

The Government, in the most favourable conditions, with automation barely introduced and the election boom now well under way, are even today facing a degree of unemployment among school leavers and young workers which no civilised society should tolerate. The Prime Minister told us last week of twelve years of preparations and of acceleration. Let me tell the right hon. Gentleman where these have brought him. I quote from the Liverpool Echo of 1st November: The Liverpool Education Department are launching a pilot scheme to give unemployed young people somewhere to go. They are opening a centre for them at Everton Red Triangle Club, Everton Road next Tuesday open three afternoons a week…. A second centre is planned … in the south end of the City, possibly at Dingle. Liverpool Boys' Association are already operating a residential course for unemployed boys at their Heswall camp. Well, snooker and woodwork and judo are better than the betting shop.

I ask the Prime Minister whether, in his tour of the country which he envisages, he will go to the unemployed workers'clubs and will recognise that these lads are just as much part of the nation as more favoured boys of the same age and whether he will come back and tell us that after twelve years of Conservative government he can still talk, as he has been talking before the television cameras, of our being one nation, a partnership.

It is in research and development that we need a spectacular increase in the amount which is undertaken both on public and private account. Private industry should have the maximum tax encouragement for research and the application of research. We have argued this in our Amendments to the Finance Bill.

As for the rest, there must be more purposive Government sponsorship not only through D.S.I.R., or whatever is to be its successor, but increasingly through R. and D. contracts in civil research. This is what we were talking about at Scarborough. The Prime Minister, in his by-election speeches at Kinross and in his broadcasts, had one idea of what this means, and we got it again and again. To quote his words: The combination of Socialism and automation could open the door to the destruction of personal freedom. Does the right hon. Gentleman really think that? Did he really think this one out for himself, or was this Conservative Central Office propaganda? Has the Prime Minister ever heard of N.R.D.C.?

I was very touched when, at Blackpool, the Foreign Secretary, in his speech, gently chided me for failing to pay tribute to the development of the Hovercraft and the Atlas computer, because I mention these two in almost every speech I make. I willingly confess that my speeches are just as repetitive as those of the right hon. Gentleman. I was grateful to him, because both of these achievements were triumphs of the National Research Development Corporation which we on this side of the House set up.

The Minister of Education, at Blackpool, congratulated me on having discovered science.I thank him for the congratulation. I think that I was reading a paper to the British Association when he was still at Eton. Apart from that, the right hon. Gentleman will remember that the Second Reading of the Bill setting up the N.R.D.C. was in 1948, fifteen years ago, and, of course, it was the N.R.D.C. which was responsible for these triumphs. When N.R.D.C. takes a research discovery from either public or private research, protects it by patent rights, and finances its development to the stage of industrial production, does the Prime Minister really think that this is opening the door to the destruction of personal freedom?

Of course, N.R.D.C. was only a start. We must extend the technique on a great scale. N.D.R.C. is statutorily confined to research development and I need not explain to the House the difference between its research development job and what might appeal to civil industry. In recent years the Public Accounts Committee has spent much time studying R. and D. in defence industries and has unearthed some ghastly cases of waste. This is perhaps inevitable in a developing defence situation where, in eighteen years of so-called peace, military technology has moved faster than in all the centuries since the discovery of gunpowder. It is difficult to control also, because military contracts are for some necessarily indefinable military product, and research is necessarily blind and its costs open-ended. Nevertheless, having said that, the Public Accounts Committee suggested considerable improvements which are now being adopted.

Our concrete proposal now is that the nation should engage on a major adventure in R. and D. contracts in the civil field. As I see it, there could be two main types. The first would be where the Government take the initiative. The Government and their advisers, the new Civil Research Board which we propose, must know—we all know—of the technological fields where a clear and obvious break-through is needed and where a break-through could mean supremacy for Britain in a particular department of industry. In these cases the Government could invite feasibility and project studies from public research establishments and private research teams leading to full R. and D. contracts.

Indeed, the Government should go further. We have all accepted that the speed of industrial expansion is directly related to the speed of expansion of our export sales, though some of us feel that N.E.D.C. is optimistic in thinking that we can get a steady 4 per cent, expansion in production with only a 5 per cent, in- crease in exports. But not enough thought is being given to import saving, which is more under our control—and I do not mean by protectionist devices. If we can save imports, production can go up with much more invulnerability. Certain imports—for example, semi-finished materials, semi-finished manufactures, certain chemical products and many items of equipment of machinery—rise very fast when we have a boom in this country.

I should like to see the Board of Trade, with its detailed knowledge of the growth elements in our import trade, list some of these key imports, and our scientific departments then offer R. and D. contracts to produce an adequate and competitive British alternative which would save imports and develop our exports. I can think of nothing more likely to give direct assistance in our hope of achieving a steady rate of growth without running into repeated balance of payments difficulties.

The other rôle for the Government in the research field should be passive. The appropriate Department should be available to receive research propositions from any research team—Government Departments, private industry or universities—who have ideas which can be fostered and sponsored. In this connection, I feel that thought should be given to using university research more. The Atlas computer began in Manchester University, and we have stressed in our statements that more of the new universities should be steered not to cathedral cities but to thriving centres of industry. Then research and development contracts should be placed with them to enable the technological faculties of these universities to become the nerve centre of a new local industrial complex.

Taking one case purely as an example, I recently visited the constituencies of my hon. Friends the Members for Anglesey (Mr. C. Hughes), Merioneth (Mr. T. W. Jones) and Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts). I was told of the great achievements of Bangor University College in electronics. Why should we not, through R. and D., place contracts at such universities for new development? The machining work could be done by sub-contract, and, if a major break- through were to occur, Bangor could be the centre of a thriving new industry centred on university research. This example could be multiplied throughout all the industrial areas.

While some industrial firms give maximum encouragement to their research staffs, in others research is still regarded as a costly luxury. We get the attitude, "When times are good we do not need this fiddle-faddle, and when they are bad we cannot afford it". Our proposals would make the research departments of firms a potential earning asset contributing a reasonable quota to the firms' earnings and, therefore, raise their status.

Does this mean an interference with human freedom, as the Prime Minister thinks? Of course, it does not. In our view, this advances freedom because it advances security. Surely, we have got away from the old philosophy that it is possible to have real freedom only in conditions of economic insecurity.

Finally, there is one subject with which I must deal, and that is the question of Ministerial responsibility in science and education. There is a great argument going on—one Ministry or two in the field of education? I do not need to rehearse the arguments; they are familiar. I feel that the Government are making a mistake in looking at this question from too narrow an angle, without bringing the questions of science and technology sufficiently into it. I suspect that the argument now has become something of a power struggle between personalities.

I begin from the proposition that the University Grants Committee should not be in the Treasury. I have held this view for many years. The Treasury, dedicated to holding Government expenditure within bounds, should not be a spending Department, particularly in a rapidly-expanding growth field. So higher education must come under another Minister, whether a separate Minister, or in education or science or, as Robbins proposed, arts and science. I think that it is realised that whatever we do here will be wrong. If we separate higher education from the Ministry of Education, we perpetuate the present chasm between education up to 18 and education over 18. We end the hope of getting a real settlement to the curricula problem and of dealing with such questions as over-specialisation in sixth forms resulting from university entry requirements. On the other hand, if we put it in education, we split Ministerial responsibility for university teaching and Ministerial responsibility for university research, which can be very serious. Therefore, there is no simple answer. It is a choice of evils.

I believe that we cannot decide this question without reference to the problems thrown up—though not, in my view, solved—by the Trend Report and by much wider considerations. After four years of the noble Lord as Minister for Science, the Trend Report is a devastating indictment of confusion and divided responsibilities. Once again, we have had the case where the responsible Minister fails to take action. It is all left to a committee.

But there is still one problem left unsolved, even by Trend. When we look at the departmental establishments in this country there is one Ministry which sticks out like a sore thumb, the Ministry of Aviation. It was not assimilated in the defence set-up, for reasons on which I will not speculate this afternoon. My view now is that the creation of this Ministry in its present form was a mistake, though there seemed very good arguments for it at the time. I suggest that its travel function, its responsibility for civil aviation, airports and the rest should be handed back to the Ministry of Transport—though I recognise again that it is a choice of evils—and we then divorce aircraft ordering from aircraft manufacture.

But, stripped of this function, the Ministry of Aviation, with all its faults, provides a ready-made nucleus for a Ministry of Research and Technology with a powerful expertise and organisation. It is already responsible for Government research over a wide area—principally, though not exclusively, defence research. It has a defence research programme of £400 million a year, a research staff of several thousands of research scientists and engineers, to say nothing of those engaged on extra-mural research for the Ministry through outside contracts. It is heavily weighted on defence research, though not exclusively.

When the P.A.C. bitterly criticised the Ministry of Health about excessive prices paid for drugs from pharmaceutical firms, and the Ministry was finally pressed into "busting" some of the patents licensing the manufacture and importation of some of these drugs, it was interesting to find that it was the Ministry of Aviation which had the job of negotiating the contracts, because it was that Department alone which had the expertise in contracts, royalties and the rest.

I suggest that the Ministry of Aviation should now be reconstituted as a Ministry of Research and Technology—this would not create an additional Ministry—and should be reorientated more in terms of civil research. Then the Ministry should be responsible for all R. and D. and for D.S.I.R. functions and should have responsibility for N.R.D.C. Whether it should be responsible for pure research is arguable, and I do not pretend to know the answer. I know distinguished scientists and Nobel class F.R.S.s who would go to the stake on this question—some who say that it is not possible to separate applied research from fundamental research, and others who say that it is not possible to mix applied research and fundamental research.

Then there is the problem of the research councils—M.R.C., Agriculture, Road Research and the rest. I wonder whether those could not now be transferred to the functional Ministries, to the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Transport. There is a strong case for this. It would enrich those Departments, and any residuum in these Research Councils could be transferred to the Royal Society, which would be helped to become more truly an academy of science and would become grant-aided to do that work.

If this were done, and if the Ministry of Aviation were reconstituted as the Ministry of Research and Technology, whether or not it had responsibility for pure science, the question of Ministerial responsibility for higher education would then become clear. It could not possibly be included in the Ministry of Technology. In my view, the right answer to follow from this argument—I am sorry that I have been a long time coming to it—is the appointment of a Secretary of State for Education, with a Minister of State for the schools, on the one hand, and a Minister of State for the universities operating through and with the University Grants Committee.

This, one of the most powerful Departments of State as it would be, could then assert the priority which education in all its forms must have and provide the right degree of curricula and other co-ordination to which I referred a moment ago. Then, as a separate Ministry, we shall have for this modern age a powerful Ministry of Research and Technology, well staffed, expert, of high morale, newly deployed, with much more emphasis on civil research as opposed to the other defence responsibilities, to begin the long overdue task of mobilising what I believe are the unrivalled scientific and technological resources of our people—all our people—in the task of creating a new and, so far, undreamed-of greatness for our country.

4.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

This debate, and the Amendment on which it takes place, like old Gaul—and the Liberal Party—falls roughly into three parts: science, higher education and the rest of the educational world.

The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, in a speech in which, if he will allow me to say so, he varied some very thoughtful and helpful comments with some fairly shrewd political in-fighting, touched on all three. I shall endeavour to deal with the three of them in my speech and I know that my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, who will seek to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, towards the end of the debate, will endeavour to deal with further points.

On the scientific part of the discussion, I feel rather in the position of a character who bore the same Christian name as myself and who appears in the early part of the New Testament: Art thou he that should come or do we look for another? Appreciating the zeal and knowledge with which my noble Friend—as I think he still is—has addressed himself to these subjects, hon. Members will look forward nearly as much as will my noble Friend to the opportunity which no doubt will be given to him to take part in further debates. I will, therefore, come straight to what was said about science by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition.

There is absolutely no quarrel between the right hon. Gentleman and the Government about the crucial importance of scientific research and development in this technological age for a country situated as is our own. I was very glad that the right hon. Gentleman said words to the effect that the world does not owe us a living. That cannot be said too often. I agree wholly with the line that he took—indeed, it was what many of us on this side of the House have said over and over again—about the importance to the future life and livelihood of this country of our remaining in the lead in research and its application to industrial processes. But I do not think that the House can possibly form a fair view, on this Amendment which seeks to suggest that we are doing too little in this respect, without having in mind the enormous advance which has taken place and is at present taking place.

As I understand it, the issue between the right hon. Gentleman and the Government is not that either of us dispute the importance of this, but that the right hon. Gentleman seems to think we are not doing enough. I am bound to comment—as I shall in my speech—that the right hon. Gentleman himself revealed that he did not know a good deal of what is actually being done. Therefore, on this point I think that I can best help the House to come to a fair decision on this matter by pointing out to hon. Members the very great progress and advance which is taking place, beginning with the amount of money spent.

The national expenditure on research and development in 1955–56 was running at the rate of about £300 million a year. In the current year the figure is more than £634 million. Or, if hon. Members prefer—I think it is more realistic—in terms of the share of the gross national product it has risen since 1955–56 from 1.7 to 2.7 per cent. In view of what the right hon. Gentleman said, I must say that that includes defence research and development.

As the right hon. Gentleman will know perfectly well, research and development in defence can often pay very considerable dividends to civil purposes, as those of us who have seen what has happened as a result of the vast research and development undertaken for defence purposes by the United States know very well. But I accept that it is civil research and development about which the right hon. Gentleman is mainly concerned this afternoon.

It is perhaps material that the proportion of our research and development effort going to defence has fallen from 59 per cent, of the 1955–56 figure which I gave to 39 per cent, of the later figure. It therefore follows that civil research is receiving a larger proportion of a larger total. I will give a few details of the break-down of this expenditure. Civil research expenditure by the Government was £45 million a year in 1955–56. It was £140 million in 1961-62. It is over £171 million in the current year. Over the same period civil research expenditure on industry rose from £78 million to £249 million, an increase of about 220 per cent.

The right hon. Gentleman said that this was a good thing, and I agree, and that it should be given tax encouragement. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman will recall it, but that is precisely what my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer did in this year's Budget, when he provided for the cost of research and development work to be written off in one year. When one takes account of the fact that the investment allowance applies, this means that there could be a write-off at the rate of 130 per cent, in one year in respect of such expenditure. That is a stimulus on top of the very large figures which I mentioned of work being undertaken by industry.

I think that great importance should be attached to this work, because it is work which is being undertaken by industry for its own purposes and is perhaps more likely than most to result in direct application and not raise the problem which we have to face in a number of directions of the gap which sometimes arises between research work and its practical application.

As the Amendment charges the Government with lack of enthusiasm, lack of drive and—I think the right hon. Gentleman used the word—parsimony, or cheese-paring, in this respect, it is fair to point out that the expenditure in the current year of £171 million compares favourably with the £30 million at which it was left by right hon. Gentlemen opposite.

Right hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to me to under-rate the achievement and effort of this country compared with other countries. It may interest them to know that this country devotes a larger proportion of its gross national product to research and development than any other,, with the sole exception of the United States of America. I commend to the right hon. Gentleman the O.E.C.D. Report published on 4th October, which was set out as a background paper for Ministers. From that it appears that they have collected the latest figures of the proportion of the gross national product available in industrial countries. There is some qualification as to date, and so on. None the less it is quite clear that the United States is well ahead of anybody. The figure they give is about 31 per cent. There is no one else, apart from this country, above 14 per cent.

That shows that a charge against us, as a country, of neglecting to apply resources to research and development cannot stand. The comparison with the United States, with its vast resources, is one which we must accept with reserve, but the fact that in this report we do so much more than comparable industrial countries is a striking indication of the importance that this country, under this Government, gives to this matter.

I agree that as important as the totality of the effort is the direction given to it. I mention, by way of increases which have taken place, some directions in which they have increased enormously in proportion. Research by the learned societies was costing £8.3 million in 1951 and is £26.4 million in the current year. In the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research it has gone up from £4.9 million in 1951 to £23.4 million in the current year, and in the Medical Research Council it was £1.7 million in 1951 and is £6.9 million in the current year.

I accept entirely the argument that what is essential is that this mass of work should not be allowed to be lost in its value by lack of application in industry. We have given great thought and care to this and the Lord President of the Council has given particular attention to seeing that there are close links between the research agencies and the industries which have to apply it. Again, I do not think the right hon. Member was quite up to date when he suggested that it was necessary to start introducing development contracts. The D.S.I.R. has been doing this.

To give some examples, a development contract was placed the other day for the control of multi-purpose machine tools, another for electronic map making and another for advanced computer techniques. I agree with what the right hon. Member said about the importance of automation, but the D.S.I.R. is at the moment paying grants for fundamental researches at nine different universities on this very subject. In addition, 20 other projects on it are being worked at colleges and universities.

On top of that is the work of the industrial research associations where they have the great advantage in most cases of real knowledge of the needs to be met. Then there is the question of keeping the link in the techniques of automation, because no firm can plunge into automation unless it has got clear that the fundamental techniques and linear programming are right. To close this gap, the industrial unit of the D.S.I.R. now runs courses for assistant managers so that they can be brought in touch with the knowledge of the techniques when automation is to be applied. I need not weary the House with details, but there have been demonstrations carried on with particular firms.

What has been the result? I thought that the tone of the right hon. Member's speech was that this country had been allowed to fall behind in matters of science and development, but that is not so. We had four Nobel Prize awards last year, all in connection with the epoch-making work being done at the laboratory of molecular biology at Cambridge and the biophysics research unit in London into the fascinating material affecting living cells. We are in the lead in the manufacture of commercial nuclear power stations; the first two in the world were of British design.

The right hon. Member did mention the Atlas computer at Manchester, which is the most powerful in the world. Then there is the discovery by the National Institute for Medical Research of interferon, which acts against influenza and other virus diseases. In industry the Spencer steelworks, at Newport, opened last autumn the first strip mill controlled by scientifically designed automation. Then we have the work done on ships' plates by the British Oxygen Company and the Government in collaboration with Ferranti's. In addition, half the world's shipping is equipped with British radar. More than half the world's aircraft fly on British engines. We evolved the Melrose NEP heart and lung machine.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

I say this in no carping spirit, but on a visit to the molecular biology laboratory at Cambridge and to Mill Hill it was pointed out to me that, whereas the original break-throughs were achieved in this country, now nine-tenths of this work is done in the United States. Is the Minister aware that bio-engineers are frustrated to have their own ideas re exported to them in the form of American equipment?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

I hope that the hon. Member is not questioning the Tightness of the full exchange in these matters of knowledge between people working in different fields in different countries.

In so far as the hon. Member is trying to make a more general point, I think that he will recall that most of the items I mentioned, from the Newport strip mill onwards, involved the actual application and service in this country of devices evolved in this country. This is a point which we have to watch the whole time. There is a very real danger of ideas, thought and concepts which are the fruits and product of British research not being applied as quickly as they should be in the service of our own country. It is precisely to secure this that a great deal of the administrative machinery to which I have referred is directed.

The right hon. Member for Huyton had some hard things to say about the Department of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education. He did not, of course, mention that it was one of the success stories of the Department that it has brought the colleges of advanced technology—which were only started following the White Paper of 1956—to the point at which Robbins rightly suggests they should be granted university status. That is a great achievement.

Nor was the right hon. Gentleman altogether fair to my right hon. Friend in respect of the school-building programme. My right hon. Friend has recently announced a programme of starts well ahead—further ahead than has been the normal practice. This was to help us to deal with the problems to which the right hon. Member referred caused by the local education authorities putting in a considerable number of items each year. It is easier for them to plan if these things can be planned somewhat further ahead. Nor did the right hon. Member give my right hon. Friend credit for the fact that the annual figures ahead for starts from 1965 to 1967 are one-third more than for the current year and provide for considerable expansion. Listening to his speech, one would not have thought that next summer half our children will be in accommodation built since the war.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

In giving the figures, did I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that they were one-third more than the current year? If that is so, will he not agree, having regard to the increase in the cost of school building of 15 per cent.—which means that the last allocation programme should now be £344 million, according to a statement of the Minister of Education—that the real increase in the programme is not one-third from 1958, but only one-seventh because of rising costs?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

It is a very substantial increase when every allowance is made for costs. My right hon. Friend assures me that when the fullest allowance is made it is an increase of 25 per cent.

The right hon. Member passed strictures on the 11-plus, with which I think that many people might not be lacking in sympathy. I was not sure, however, whether what he said about comprehensive schools indicated that he would favour a continuance of the grammar schools. The right hon. Member did not make that clear. He does not make it clear now. [Hon. Members: "Answer."] The House and the grammar schools will draw their own conclusions.

Then the right hon. Member was unfair in a way to the 11-plus. It has its limitations, of course. This is not quite so concentrated on what is done on one cold February day, as the right hon. Member dramatically described it. There is a wide variety of practice such as we would expect under a system of education which is locally administered. Nor did the right hon. Member allow for the fact that later transfer, under some local authorities, is freely provided. My right hon. Friend told me, for example, that he went to a school in Norfolk last Saturday in which 40 out of 266 sixth-formers had failed the 11-plus.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Will the right hon. Gentleman state the national figures?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

Not without notice. The system is locally administered and the point I am making, which I do not think the right hon. Member's question gets away from, is that he did not give a fair description of the operation of a system on which, I accept, opinions differ. It is not quite so arbitrary as he suggested.

The right hon. Member was also not fair to my right hon. Friend in respect of the £300 million building programme announced in 1958. It was a full programme which, at present prices—I anticipate his interruption—will probably need about £320 million. There is every reason to believe that that programme will be fulfilled to the letter.

Now I come to the universities—

Photo of Miss Jennie Lee Miss Jennie Lee , Cannock

Before the right hon. Gentleman deals with the universities, will he say whether he would like to continue a system which enables some local authorities to say that they will not allow more than 2 per cent, of children from secondary schools to pass on to grammar schools whatever the result of their examination at 13-plus?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

The hon. Lady raises a question which goes to the root of local administration of education. We can prevent administration on those lines

—speaking personally, and I do not know whether my right hon. Friend agrees with me; I doubt it very much—only if we are prepared to take a great deal of authority from local authorities. That is far too big a question to answer in a speech dealing with other matters.

Coming to the universities, the Robbins Report, I am sure that the House accepts, was an historic document. Its 178 recommendations were numerically in large measure for the universities themselves, but the major issues are, of course, for the Government. I shall say a word about ministerial responsibility in a moment and also refer to teacher training colleges. Some of these are matters on which it is probably desirable that opinion should be allowed to form and crystallise before the Government take decisions. A number of major recommendations, however, we have accepted—I hope that the House will agree—with some promptness.

The most important of these is the question of student numbers. Here I come to the very important principle enunciated by Robbins and accepted by the Government in the White Paper, which was laid a few days after publication of the Report. I shall read it to the House. The basic assumption of the Report is that courses of higher education should be available for all those who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so. The Government accept this assumption and also the calculations on the number of places, both in higher education as a whole, and institutions of University status, which flow from it. That, in its way, is as important a recommendation and decision as any in the social history of this country. The Report sets targets for student numbers in 1967–68 and 1973–74 and some more tentatively in the 1980s. We are working to the firm figures of 1967–68 and 1973–74 in a way consistent with the figure for the 1980s.

I invite the attention of the House to the social revolution involved in these figures. At present, 13 per cent, of young men and 6 per cent, of girls complete courses of higher education in this country. By the mid-1970s the figures will have gone up to 22 per cent, for men and 12 per cent, for girls. That carries with it the conclusion that the same proportion of men will proceed to a course of higher education of degree standard or equivalent as at present receive three O levels or more in G.C.E.

That is undoubtedly a very great step indeed for this country to take in a period of ten years. The Report brings out that these advances are possible only because, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said last week, the preparations have been made. In other words, as I told the House in July, we are already in the full flow of the biggest expansion in our universities which there has ever been—from over 86,000 in our universities in 1951 to 125,000 this year.

The House knows that the finance of the universities is agreed on a quinquennial basis. The plans for the present quinquennium provide over the quinquennium for an increase in student numbers of 30 per cent. When the House recalls that we are dealing not with things which are a possible subject matter of mechanisation and automation, but with institutions whose standards it is vital to preserve, it will recognise that this is a very big expansion indeed.

It is only because this expansion has been brought forward and continued over these years that this further advance is now possible. That is why the right hon. Gentleman was quite wrong when he spoke earlier of the failure to foresee the increased demand. Was it a failure to foresee the increased demand when we raised the figure from 86,000 to 125,000? Was it a failure when we planned for a 30 per cent, increase for this quinquennium.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

Then the right hon. Gentleman is setting himself a very dangerous target.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the question. On 5th April last year his predecessor told us that no child would go short of a place because of the bulge and that the proportion would be kept as high as was necessary. Lord Robbins tells us that 60,000 children will not have a place. Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the Government have failed to meet the demand and that his predecessor totally misled the House?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

The right hon. Gentleman knows me well enough to realise that I would come to that. In particular, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, we are faced with this very large increase in the age group up to 1966–67, and the curve then turns down. Under the Government's existing plan the percentage of a generation for whom there are places keeps extraordinarily steady up till then. There are variations between the current year and the peak year of.04 per cent. I think that is the right figure, but I will correct it if I am wrong. After that, with the fall in the numbers, the percentage rises very sharply.

My right hon. Friend is, therefore, quite right. When my right hon. Friend was taken to task by the right hon. Member for Huyton for not going for further increases, it would perhaps have been fairer to admit that my right hon. Friend was fully maintaining the expansion already initiated.

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

I have not quite understood the argument. I can see the Minister's point when he says that he foresaw the need and wanted an increase in the numbers in the universities. I can understand that claim. But does he deny that, having foreseen this increase in numbers, he cut the amount of money which the universities were granted last April—the money which was needed to carry out their plans? The fact that he foresaw the increased numbers makes the cut in the money worse, not better.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

I think that the hon. Member is confusing two separate issues. There was a steady expansion which was continuous. What my right hon. Friend, my predecessor, did, as I understand it, was in the economic situation of the time to refuse proposals for further increases. That is quite a separate thing, and it did not affect the general development, the figures for which I have been giving.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

I must get on. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman was here when I began my speech. I will give way to him in a moment, but I think that we shall have a rather more agreeable debate if I am allowed to deal with one point and one hon. or right hon. Gentleman at a time.

The fact remains that if one looks at Table 61 of the Robbins Report, page 260, one sees endorsed there all that I have said. It brings out that for higher education other than the universities no additional expansion is required at all on our present plans to meet the 1966–67 target. It shows that to meet the Robbins target in all respects an expansion of about 20,000 is required. We have asked the University Grants Committee to make recommendations in respect of this and we have assured them that the finance will be available.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

I do not want to embarrass the right hon. Gentleman, and if I missed the opening sentences of his speech, I apologise. I came into the Chamber fairly early.

I am interested in the question of universities and I should like some information. He says that the Government have begun the expansion of universities, and I understand that this will be a continuing process. Is it not the case that the universities have lately been asked, not necessarily by the Government, whether they can very greatly accelerate their expansion, and that they have been asked for an answer in a fairly short time?

Does this mean that the Government are prepared to give guidance to universities on the question whether pupils are to be taken into hostels and whether they will get extra laboratory and library space? Or is it to be on the basis of the steady expansion about which the Prime Minister has spoken?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

The right hon. Gentleman's intervention, though not brief, shows that he does not fully apprehend the system as it operates. As I said before he intervened, the University Grants Committee has been asked by the Government to make proposals in consultation with the universities as to the method of achieving these targets on the assumption that the money would be available. It is the essence of the University Grants Committee system which, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, was warmly endorsed by Lord Robbins in his Report, that the matter should be handled in that way. Of course, there is continuous consultation between the University Grants Committee and the Departments concerned, but the planning has been with the universities through the University Grants Committee. As I have said, we have already asked the Committee to undertake that.

This all involves very large financial commitments, about £3,500 million over the next ten years. It involves doubling the annual expenditure in ten years and trebling it in twenty. These are large commitments which will place a heavy burden on our community.

I come back to the Leader of the Opposition, because I was puzzled by his speech at Scarborough. I think that many people were. He said, "As Lord Taylor has said in the Report, our aim must be at the earliest possible moment to provide facilities for higher education for at least 10 per cent, of our young people instead of the 5 per cent, at which the Tories are tepidly aiming". It seems to follow that the right hon. Gentleman does not realise that we touched 10 per cent, last year that in ten years' time it will be not one-tenth at which the Tories are "tepidly aiming"but one-sixth. It looks as if the Labour movement so-called is fitted with rearward facing seats.

I come to the point which the right hon. Gentleman raised about Ministerial responsibility. As he raised the question he may well like to hear the answer. The Government are determined to push forward with the expansion of higher education and have been giving thought to the best arrangements from the point of view of Ministerial responsibility for the carrying out of this policy.

As the House knows, evidence was given on behalf of the Treasury to the Robbins Committee to the effect that the growth of expenditure on the universities rendered it no longer appropriate for Ministerial responsibility for these institutions to continue with the Treasury. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman took the same view. There are obvious difficulties, both of principle and of practice, in the Department concerned with the control of public expenditure being itself responsible for a large and growing field of expenditure. As has already been announced, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has invited my hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council to be responsible for co-ordinating the work of Departments concerned with higher education. As soon as the Lord President of the Council is in a position to answer in this House, my right hon. Friend intends that the Departmental responsibility for university matters, including of course the University Grants Committee, at present carried by Treasury Ministers, shall pass to him. Until then the present arrangements will continue. This does not mean, of course, that even in this interim period there will be any slackening in the Government's drive forward. My hon. Friend and I will work closely together. By way of example, we shall both be seeing the Committee of Vice-Chancellors on Friday of this week for the purpose of discussing with them the immediate steps to be taken by way of university expansion.

The Government recognise that varying views are held on what are the best arrangements for the machinery of Government in the field of education and civil science. As has already been made clear, the Government will not reach a final decision on this subject until those concerned have had an opportunity of expressing their views. The arrangements for the immediate future which I have outlined are entirely without prejudice to what may ultimately be decided about the scope of Ministerial responsibility. The Government hope to be able to announce their decision on this issue some time in the new year.

We have covered already in this debate a very wide field and we have certainly covered a very wide increase in expenditure. I have already given the House massive figures for the increased expenditure on research and development. In the field of university education we have seen in the lifetime of this Government expenditure rise from £36.7 million in 1951 to £146 million this year and we have seen expenditure on the rest of education rise from £377 million to £1,119 million in the current year. Even more significant, and I should have thought even more reassuring to the House, is the increase in the share of the gross national product from 3.2 per cent, in the last year of the Labour Government to 4.8 per cent, in the current year.

In the face of these figures, I do not think that it lies in the mouths of right hon. Gentlemen opposite to charge us with not dealing adequately with the problems hindering educational progress. In fact—and the figures speak for this—we have given and intend to give high priority to education. This is a tremendous expansion in science and in education—in the whole sphere of this debate. It shows, I suggest to the House, vitality in this nation; and it shows a confidence in the future and a determination to provide in the present for the things—and scientific and research and education are notably the two—on which our future depends. That, I think, is the clear lesson to be drawn from the figures which I have ventured to give the House and from the facts which I have put before it.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

The right hon. Gentleman has told us plainly that the Government accept the Robbins Report. Now he is gathering together the arguments of the Government's approach to education as a whole. Will he answer my other question? They have accepted the Robbins Report. Do they accept the Newsom Report?

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

I did not say that we had accepted the Robbins Report. The right hon. Gentleman should not put that in my mouth. I said that we had accepted certain recommendations, which I specified, and I went out of my way at some length to explain that several of the others were matters on which we wished information sought. The Newsom Report will be considered. It contains one major recommendation in respect of the school age, about which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education has already told the House that he will make a statement in due course. The other matters are of great interest but they are essentially for discussion in the educational world before decisions are taken. But we certainly welcome this Report as being a most helpful contribution.

I must come back to what it is that the Opposition want. Is it that in the light of what I have tried to tell the House they are still saying that our efforts are inadequate and that we ought to spend even more money in these directions, vital and important though they are? If it is, it is a little difficult to reconcile with the assertion of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) that we are already on a spending spree. He said that we are on the biggest spending spree any peace-time Government in this country have had. It is perhaps noteworthy that the hon. Gentleman is not here this afternoon. That speech of his underlined the basic weakness of the Opposition—their childish wish to have things both ways.

5.10 p.m.

Photo of Mr Will Howie Mr Will Howie , Luton

As a rule I am not terribly keen on traditional things, but there is one tradition I am very keen on at the moment. I refer to the tradition of tolerance to a Member making his maiden speech in this august assembly. However, there are duties which go with that tolerance. There is a duty upon me to be as non-controversial as possible. In a sense, it is a pity, because we have the highest authority for directing all our attention and all our speeches towards the coming General Election. I cannot really do that and at the same time remain un-controversial. Therefore, I shall not attempt to speak about the coming General Election.

However, in passing, I will mention the by-election which brought me here. It was caused by the translation of my predecessor to another place, a destination from which no traveller returns, it might be thought. Who knows? We may yet see my predecessor back in this House purified and cleansed and ready to take up other duties here.

Leaving aside any political differences I may have with my predecessor, I should like at the outset of my Parliamentary career to pay a few tributes to him. He was a man of striking personality and of independent spirit. He attained great eminence as a public figure. Indeed, he attained eminence as a public figure even before he came to the House of Commons. Therefore, it is a man of very considerable stature that I must attempt to follow. In addition, my predecessor was a very hard working and substantial constituency member, for which he enjoyed a good reputation in Luton. In the coming years I sincerely hope to emulate my predecessor in that regard.

I want now to focus attention on an attitude which I think underlay one part of the speech of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster-General. The right hon. Gentleman spoke at great length, as people often do when talking about science, about research and such topics. The great shortage is not really a shortage of boffins, researchers and people of the highest quality. The real shortage in Britain is one of engineers at the professional level and of highly trained draughtsmen. Anyone who like myself has been an engineer for about twenty years trying to carry out engineering constructions throughout the country realises that this is our great shortage. There just are not enough engineers to go round. We should talk less about the need for more scientists and more about the need for more practical engineers.

This is very important, because Britain is a highly complex industrial society. In essence, an industrial society is an engineering society. The Industrial Revolution should have been called the "Engineering Revolution". Unless this country keeps pace with the production, not of things or materials, but of highly skilled, trained and qualified engineers achieved by our competitions, we shall decline into a Portugal, a country with any amount of illustrious imperial past but with very little modern future. It is easier in Britain today, and it has been for some time, to get doctors, lawyers, accountants, journalists and advertising men than it is to get engineers. It is even easier to get politicians than it is to get engineers.

Why is this so? This is the crux of the matter. I believe that there are three main reasons for this unsatisfactory state of affairs. The first reason is the poor status of the engineer as a member of society. It is noticeable that engineers never become Lords, not as engineers. They sometimes do because they are businessmen, but as engineers they are never ennobled. Engineers are never selected to be the heads of Royal Commissions. These are matters of status which the Government can attempt to put right. However, I should not like it to be thought that I suggest any particular engineer as a candidate for such treatment.

The second main reason is the relatively poor reward by way of income enjoyed by engineers. When I was enjoying my short period of limelight a few weeks ago I was rung up by a reporter on an evening newspaper. He asked me what I thought of the large drop in salary I would suffer through coming to this assembly. I pointed out to him that for a professional engineer the drop in salary is not all that large. The reporter was a little surprised. He said that I sounded a little bitter. I was not bitter. I was merely telling him the true facts in a blunt manner.

A few years ago a Royal Commission on doctors'pay listed the incomes over a working life of about thirty years of half a dozen professions. Incidentally, doctors came fairly near the top of the list. Engineers were one from the bottom. Architects, I am glad to say in a sense, were worse off than engineers. Pilkington's conclusion was that doctors should get even more and become even more highly paid than engineers. I do not complain about doctors having a proper income. In our society we should pay some of the more important people just a little more. Then some of them might stay in this country instead of going abroad.

The third main reason for the shortage of engineers is engineering's low status as an academic study. No real genius of the highest quality wants to become an engineer. He wants to become a nuclear physicist or something highly exciting of that order. Engineering is thought to be too impure; it is thought to be too applied a study for the real ivory towered engineering institute. This has led to colleges of advanced technology being thought worthy only of granting diplomas and not degrees. Such snobbery as this underlines my point. I am glad that this state ofaffairs is now to be changed.

I took my degree about twenty years ago at Glasgow University. I received all my teaching at the Glasgow Technical College, which was good enough to teach me but, apparently, not good enough to grant a degree of its own, which is ridiculous. That example no longer applies, because the College has become a college of advanced technology and is soon to become a university.

It is a dreadful commentary on the sort of corrosive medievalism of this country that the Glasgow Technical College will, when it becomes a university, call itself the University of Strathclyde—as though Sir Walter Scott invented it. Why it has not been able to give degrees from the beginning I shall never understand.

Britain will never get off the ground in the modern world in which we live until the profession of engineering is up-graded and until people are prepared to pay the same sort of attention to me when I was an engineer just three weeks ago as they appear to be paying to me now as an hon. Member of this House. I have not changed much, although the way people look at me has.

I wish to be brief to allow more important speakers to take part in the debate, though I must make two references to my constituency. Firstly, there is in Luton a college of technology. It may not be in the forefront of academic life—looked at from the point of view of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and such places—but when will the adventurous ideas of Robbins and Taylor come into being in a place like Luton, so that it may have a technical university of its own? It is a populace area in which industry is vibrant and in which industry could feed a technical university.

Secondly, I have referred to the coming General Election which, we are told, is not far off. The General Election really started about three weeks ago and, in the preliminary skirmishes of the first battle, a minor victory was registered for this side of the House. I look forward with interest and enthusiasm to the coming months of campaign that will lead us to the General Election.

5.23 p.m.

Photo of Mr Angus Maude Mr Angus Maude , Stratford-on-Avon

It is a happy coincidence that I, who am making what might be called a second maiden speech, should have been called to speak immediately after the hon. Member for Luton (Mr. Howie). This is the first time in my Parliamentary career that I have had the happy experience of congratulating a maiden speaker. We are glad that the hon. Member for Luton is now able to say that he has got this ordeal behind him and he can be assured that he has equipped himself very well indeed. The House always appreciates a blend of expert professional knowledge with an understanding of the wider national problems involved—and leavened, as in his case, with a pleasant touch of humour. I congratulate the hon. Member.

I said that I was myself making what might be called a second maiden speech, but I shall not attempt to ask for the indulgence of the House in that regard, partly because by not asking for it I shall be able to be a little more controversial than if I did. But I do hope not to be very controversial, unless provoked.

I am pleased to see the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in his place, because I intend to comment on one or two points he raised. He was, as my right hon. Friend said, a little unkind about the record of the Government in education; not merely unkind but, perhaps, somewhat misguided. I regret that he used this platform language about the Government having "cut" education when he must know that this is a grossly misleading use. So far from the Government having cut the provision for education, it has been steadily increased and the proportion of the gross national product given to education has risen from about 3 per cent, to about 5 per cent, in the last 10 or 12 years. This cannot conceivably be called a cut, particularly when one considers that not only has provision been made for the enormously increased number of children coming forward to fill school places but that during the last 10or 12 years not merely the number but the proportion of the age group staying at school after 15 has something like doubled. This is a considerable achievement, and I confess that I was surprised to find that the right hon. Gentleman could not see the extraordinary lack of cohesion between what he said about the availability of qualified students for universities and his comments on our failure, as he called it, in secondary education.

It is precisely the enormous increase in the proportion of school leavers who are now qualified to enter a university that testifies to the success of the Government's policy in secondary education. One has only to read the appen- dix to Robbins, which deals with this matter, to see that the proportion taking three A levels, two A levels, or five or more O levels has enormously increased. It is this which has made the availability of university places proportionately smaller than it previously appeared it would be.

I thought that the Leader of the Opposition was less than fair when he dealt with the question of the tripartite system of secondary education and the 11-plus. He did not appreciate that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education has for some time been giving overt encouragement to local education authorities, not merely to experiment with new kinds of selection for education but with new groupings of schools. This gives our educational system flexibility, for it gives local education authorities the opportunity to experiment according to their needs without having arbitrary political directives clamped down on them from Curzon Street with such statements as, "You will have nothing but comprehensive schools as from tomorrow." The ability to experiment with other types of school has, as we have seen from Leicestershire to Bournemouth, made this one of the most stimulating periods in the organisation of secondary education. The rigid tripartite system of education is virtually dead or is dying. [Hon. Members: "Oh."] Hon. Members who do not realise this cannot know exactly what is going on.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

In furtherance of his argument, will the hon. Gentleman tell the House what proportion of children go to comprehensive or bilateral schools compared with the proportion which has to find a place in grammar schools?

Photo of Mr Angus Maude Mr Angus Maude , Stratford-on-Avon

Yes. It is still lower than it should be. What I said was that the rigid tripartite system was dead or dying, and it is. The whole trend all over the country is away from rigid selection for a tripartite system at 11-plus, and this is resulting, in many authorities—and, believe me, many Conservative authorities—in the proportion of young people staying on at school and receiving a grammar school-type of education doubling in some cases and increasing in very substantial proportions in others. This trend will certainly continue. Provided it does not involve the wanton destruction of an established grammar school with traditions—and as far as I am aware, my right hon. Friend has always set his face against that sort of murder—I can see nothing but good coming out of this period of experiment and flexibility which secondary education is now going into.

There were one or two other points in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition with which I would have dealt were he still in the Chamber, but he is not, so I will pass on to the question of higher education and science. It is, as I have said, largely owing to the very great improvement in the facilities for the education of children over the age of 15 that the opportunity for enormous expansion, of which Robbins gives us the blueprint, has now come before us. This is a perfect example of what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said about expansion and acceleration being based on what has gone on in the last twelve years..

Had it not been for the improvement in secondary education and, in particular, this doubling of the proportion staying on after the age of 15, this expansion simply could not have taken place, and not merely because of the great expansion in the number of school-leavers with the right qualifications but because the teachers simply would not be there for the expansion had this expansion of secondary education not previously taken place.

As regards the Robbins Report, which clearly we are not debating in detail today, I have not the slightest doubt that the expansion which it envisages is possible, is desirable and will benefit not merely our society but the economy as a whole. I have no fears that it will result in a general falling of standards. I accept completely the Robbins Committee's statement that as regards first and second class honours degrees there is no reason whatsoever why standards should fall..

I have not the slightest doubt that we ought to increase the provision for and the output of scientists, technologists and, perhaps at this moment above all, mathematicians, in which we are very short at the moment and on which much of the scientific and technological expansion will depend..

The only part of the Robbins blueprint about which I have some doubt is the question of the expansion of arts faculties and the division of universities between arts, scientific and technological faculties. We have had this argument ever since the war—if we increase the proportion of scientists and technologists in universities, should we try to increase the arts faculties in proportion in order to endeavour to keep the balance? It is there, if anywhere, that some fall in standards might take place. I am inclined to think that it would not matter very much if some fall in the average did take place because, by and large, an arts graduate is bound to be a much more useful member of the community wherever he goes than if he had not been to a university.

. I will now pass briefly to the question of scientific research and development for which, again, Robbins gives us a jumping off place for a very considerable expansion and improvement. In his speech, my right hon. Friend said that our record in the proportion of gross national product which we devoted to scientific research and development was ahead of that of any other country except the United States. As a matter of fact, if my memory serves me aright, the Advisory Committee on Scientific Policy said in its Report a year ago that, though this was a very difficult thing to estimate, it thought that the proportion of our gross national product spent on research and development was approximately equal to that of the United States.

If this is not in fact giving us the relative results that it ought to give, one or other of several things must be wrong. Either our research is not as good as that of other countries—and I think that from the top level, at which our research is initiated and directed, this is not true; I think that ours is as good as that of any country—or we are researching into the wrong things, which in some respects is probably true—though I cannot go into detail now—or we are falling rapidly behind in the application and development of the research discoveries which are made.

That has been very true in the past, but I doubt whether it is as true now. It is difficult to be sure, but the impression I get on coming back to this country after three years abroad is that we have begun to pull up our socks and to accelerate the development of scientific discoveries at a much faster rate than just after the war. But certainly a great deal remains to be done in this field and I think that we ought to remember—I do not want to make too much out of this nor do I wish to make any political point if I can avoid it—that to some extent both sides of industry have been responsible for the relative slowness in developing scientific discoveries and inventions.

It is not quite as true as it was just after the war, though it is still true, that in many firms the direction of productive enterprises is getting into the hands of the accountant and that this is making the life of the production engineer very difficult. We all know firms where the accountant, having succeeded in writing off the historic cost of the plant to £1 in the balance sheet, recoils from what he considers to be the grossly excessive cost of the new plant in which he is asked to invest now.

For some time after the war the influence of the accountant—and I apologise to any hon. Member who is an accountant—was, I think, a very baleful one in British industry. I think it probably true to say that there has been some improvement in the last few years, but not enough.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

There were some exceptions.

Photo of Mr Angus Maude Mr Angus Maude , Stratford-on-Avon

No doubt.

On the other side of industry we must not overlook the fact that—while, again, I recognise that this is not as serious as it was once and that a considerable advance has been made—the determination of some trade unions to keep certain new processes and plants over-manned in operation and, in particular, sometimes to resist the efficient operation of the plant on a two or three shift basis has been responsible for a considerable unwillingness to invest in new plant.

One can give a number of examples of this, and the direction in which, I think, this has been most unfortunate is that it has in some cases prevented us in this country from developing industries for the production of plant, machinery and machine tools on which we could have based a considerable export business. The reason is that, unless the manufacturers of this plant are able to count on a reasonable home market for their product, they cannot possibly compete in export markets.

One obvious example, of course, is the manufacture of high-speed printing machines, in which we have fallen far behind not only the Americans but the Germans and the Swiss, largely because the printing unions have invariably insisted on over-manning nearly every piece of new plant which has been introduced in this country. One could mention other things. The docks provide another example.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

I am following very closely what the hon. Gentleman is saying. Will he accept that there is an important subtle difficulty here? People such as biological engineers agree that firms are prepared to help them when there is almost certainty that an item will be successful, but they are frustrated when no one can be certain whether it will be successful or not. The trouble is that, for instance, until one has made a prototype of a high-pressure oxygen therapy machine, one does not know that it is going to work. Does the hon. Gentleman accept that, perhaps, the Government should help by providing risk capital where there can, inevitably, be no scientific certainty?

Photo of Mr Angus Maude Mr Angus Maude , Stratford-on-Avon

The hon. Gentleman is dealing with what is clearly a somewhat specialised application of the general point I was making. Very often, as far as I understand it, what he is speaking of is not really the normal industrial process but, virtually, an extension of research. This is a rather different matter, and I agree entirely that there can be cases in which, if industry cannot provide the help or guarantee required, there is an argument for the Government, through one of its agencies, providing it. That is so, but the point is not really relevant to what I was saying when the hon. Gentleman intervened, which is that, on both sides of industry, partly through the conservatism and the unwillingness of those I call the "figure boys"to be adventurous and competitive in the matter of new plant, and partly through the determination of certain trade unions to get agreements which over-man new plant and machinery, we have not only kept back the productivity of our manufacturing industries but we have lost the opportunity greatly to increase our national share of the export market for plant and machinery, particularly machine tools.

This is something to which, when we talk about the development of science and technology, we should devote rather more attention. It is no good simply increasing the amount spent on scientific research if it is not going to emerge at the end past the development stage. Much of what I am talking about comes after the development stage; it comes at the stage of employment and utilisation, and it is here, perhaps, that we have in this country been most remiss.

Photo of Mr Angus Maude Mr Angus Maude , Stratford-on-Avon

Will the hon. Gentleman forgive me? I am very anxious, in this my reappearance in the House, not to trespass upon the indulgence of hon. Members by taking too long. I want to cut my speech as short as possible.

I believe, nevertheless, that we ought to be spending more money on research. The supply of gifted researchers is not by any means unlimited, but I have no doubt that the provision of laboratory space, in particular for medical research, is quite inadequate in our universities and other research institutions and that something should be done about this, and done soon.

In talking as the Leader of the Opposition did today, and as we all tend to do, about science, modernisation and the modernising of Britain, do not we tend to overlook some of the secondary side-effects which the acceleration of the process will produce in our society? Considering that we have known industrialised man for only about 200 years out of perhaps 7,000 years or so of civilisation, and considering that we are now going through an acceleration of the process of scientific and technological innovation which makes the Industrial Revolution look like a mere hic- cough on the graph of progress, it would scarcely be remarkable if we found the process a little difficult to grasp and if certain social and psychological, let alone economic and industrial, problems did not arise and require solution. Of course, they do. We have not only to face the fact that the problems of structural unemployment will increase and that automation will provide us with difficulties of redeployment and retraining of labour but we have also to face the fact that we are beginning to have to deal with something which requires an entirely new dimension and category of thinking.

I do not want to wax too philosophical about this, but we must accept that, whereas the human species and the human brain have not substantially evolved in the last 2,000 years or so, the mathematician or the physicist who is working with a computer which can do a decade of calculation in a few minutes has become a new kind of man. Moreover, scientists and mathematicians of all countries are now beginning to work together to exchange information and to interact one upon the other. In this situation, we are dealing with an acceleration of innovation of which we have not even begun to foresee and grasp the consequences. If we do not begin to foresee and grasp them, the pace of change which is generated will overwhelm us.

Good heavens—in a decade, or perhaps in little more than a year or two, not only will scientists tell us that they can control the weather—and what problems and difficulties that will bring—but, sooner or later, they will tell us that they can, if not actually create life itself, at least determine the hereditary characteristics of children as yet unborn. We have not yet begun to think of the social and moral problems which that sort of development will raise. But we had better begin to think of them, because they will come. There are no questions which man will not ask of nature and the answers to which he will not, sooner or later, find. We shall discover that our social and political institutions are quite inadequate and will be broken by the force generated by these powers, unless we begin to think far farther ahead into the future than we have yet done.

We have only begun to touch the fringes of the spread of the neuroses and stress disorders which the technological age has already introduced into our society. Perhaps, if we spent less money researching in pharmaceutical laboratories into new tranquilising drugs to palliate the disorders and a little more on fundamental research to discover what are the causes of these stresses and strains and how we could prevent them or cure them at an early stage, we might run into less trouble than I suspect we shall run into in the future.

5.48 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire

This is one of the most interesting debates we have had in the House for a long time. It is carrying out the purpose of Parliament, because we are discussing what isto be the position of Britain in the new scientific age. We have had two maiden speeches, if I may call them both such. The hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude), I suspect, left us and this country a little time ago because he was disgusted with his own party and despairing of the country. He went to help build up another land. We are relieved that he has come back to this country and that he is now in a more optimistic frame of mind. We shall listen to his developing thoughts in the future with pleasure.

It is a particular pleasure for me to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Luton (Mr. Howie). He made a speech full of wit and with a pawkiness which, perhaps, betrayed his origin. Nevertheless, he showed a great fund of good common sense, and as an engineer I can see that he will keep us down to earth in our discussions in future.

I have no wish to be controversial in putting blame on anyone for Britain's condition today, but I think that the debate so far has been on the optimistic side. My view is that Britain is still not "with it", to use the modern jargon. I do not think that we are approaching the problem in anything like a scientific way. Everything is much too haphazard. The Chief Secretary, who delivered a most interesting speech, gave us the details of what the Government have done and of what they propose to do, but he seemed to be pointing in a multitude of directions without giving us any idea as to where we were going. I feel that the bus of progress is going ahead and that we do not have a very clear idea of the direction in which it is going or sufficient determination to catch up with it.

The main difficulty in this country regarding the scientific age and our approach to it is that we have not defined our purpose. What is all this science for? What are we doing all this for? We are producing scientists and we are teaching science. What will be the outcome? If we said to the scientists, "Here is a job to do", they would get down to it.

As the Chief Secretary knows, after the war I was honoured by the Minister in being made responsible for research and development in the largest area in this country. It was fascinating to see the splendid work done by our scientists. They had a very definite purpose—to develop the finest aircraft that the world had ever seen. Most of our scientific work has been done in response to some vital need, such as war and the necessity for defence. A great deal of our scientific work is bound to have been done on aircraft, bombs and missiles.

After the war, our scientists were able to dispense with all the trial and error methods of pre-war days in designing guns and bombs. They could work out these problems on paper hypothetically. With the aid of computers, the work will be done even more easily.

My experience during that period was that very largely industry in this country was simply not interested. Let me give one or two examples. The National Gas Turbine Establishment, of which Air Commodore Whittle was one of the pioneers, developed a knowledge of gas turbine science unequalled and unexcelled in the world. Every development which was made was embodied in aircraft. However, the men at this establishment were heartbroken because industry was not interested in making use of their scientific skill and knowledge. When I went to the Scottish Office, I found that John Brown of Clydebank had gone to Switzerland to buy from Brown Boveri less valuable knowledge than was available to that concern in the National Gas Turbine Establisment at no cost. This is typical.

To bring matters up to date, Ferranti, which has been mentioned before, is now working in conjunction with Edinburgh University on research. The Americans have been there. They say that the inventions of Ferranti concerning automative processess in tooling, milling and things of that kind are ahead of anything in America. Industry wants the Government to give it something for nothing and to pay it for using something which would take its own engineering ahead of the world. This is the problem. British scientists have produced ideas, but they have been developed in America and elsewhere and not by this country's industry.

Some years ago I made a speech upstairs on shipbuilding. I pointed out that Germany and Japan had gone ahead and made use of science in improving their shipbuilding technique. I suggested that, unless British shipbuilders were prepared to do likewise, they would be left lying on the shore. That is exactly what is happening today. British shipbuilding firms are closing down. British shipbuilding is shrinking because the industry has not kept alive and made use of science, and, like the Government, it is scrambling at the last minute to catch up with the bus. British shipbuilding has a great deal of responsibility for its position today, because it was far too late in waking up to the new shipbuilding situation in the world. In the last year or two Japan has been the biggest shipbuilding nation in the world.

I have not objection to private enterprise. In fact, I spent 25 years in it and did my best to make it a success. What I object to is the lack of enterprise. The Government must be shocked to find how much money is not made use of in industry. One of our leading scientists—I think that he was a Nobel prize winner—wrote to me some time ago because in Scotland graduates were not taking up scholarships and research facilities being granted by the Government. He said to me, "Frankly I do not think that either Scottish industry or the Scottish universities have quite come to terms with this age of science and technology".

I should make one exception in Scotland. I am very proud of the way that Scottish farmers sit on the doorstep of the universities and colleges of agriculture waiting for new ideas to come out so that they can put them into practice. That is, perhaps, because they are fairly well off and have a bit of money to burn. They are not now tied down to the plough as they used to be. They are waiting for science to help them and are prepared to test it out. They are not afraid of common markets or anything else, because they are ahead of farmers all over the world in doing their job.

For some years the Government have made the money available, and they will make more available. As I say, all this is rather haphazard. I should be more enthusiastic if I knew that there were possibilities of spending the money. We heard at Question Time today that the Government offered £46 million for certain developments and that they managed to spend only £23 million. The fact is that a great deal of the Government's programme involves buildings, the creation of new institutions and the use of our construction industry which, however it develops, will, in my view, never be able to do half the job which the Government propose it should do. I therefore think that we delude ourselves if we think that the building industry can build universities, schools, houses and everything that it is being asked to build within this programme. I am all in favour of the programme, but I simply see the limitations of the building industry.

I have had experience of this. We had a scheme for building junior colleges. They were very desirable, and I wish that they could be built now. That was in 1948, after the war. We have never been able to build a junior college, because to build one would mean having to stop building about 120 houses. With the housing situation as it is in Glasgow and elsewhere, who would say that we should build a junior college and stop building 120 houses?

What has happened with the Government's plans, even during this period, is that whenever they have given permission to spend more money, there is a run-around of the bricklayers from one job to another. One job goes on, then it slows down, another goes on a bit and one gets an auction sale among the builders and the construction engineers. Even at this moment we cannot get tenders for some of the building that we want to do. How all these new universities will be built is beyond my comprehension.

I propose, therefore, to try to make a constructive proposal to reach the target without trying to tackle it in an impossible way. I do not believe that it is possible in the near future to train all the university lecturers. We are told that we must maintain the standard. Where are the people to come from? Even if we put up the buildings, where will we get the professors without lowering the standards? I can tell the House that we shall not get them unless we do what ought to have been done long ago: that is, that scientists themselves should use science in education. This is something which they have not done. Therefore, we ought first to define our purpose and not simply spend money at large without knowing where we are going.

The late Lord Stansgate used to tell a story about engineers who built a wonderful engine, a beautiful locomotive; but they had no idea where they were going, so all they did was to blow the engine whistle. After they got their head of steam up, they blew the whistle. It is no good building a machine unless we know where we are going and what we will do with it. The Government have not put forward a purpose and they have not defined a plan so that even our scientists can see what is wanted.

Let us make a start by making Britain science conscious. That is one of the contributions made by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition in his speech at Scarborough. He certainly shocked the nation into feeling science-conscious. It even shocked the Government into feeling science-conscious. I sometimes lecture on how Parliament works. I am careful to explain that this is not a dictatorship, that the Government of the day yield to pressure of opinion on both sides of the House, that very often debates convince the Government and that it is only when we fail to convince them that we have to vote against them to show that they have not agreed. Most times, however, they agree.

Although it has not recently been in office, the Labour Party has influenced the Government greatly. As soon as we put out a programme which is good and wise, the Conservatives adopt it. There will soon be no programme left if the promises incease in the Conservative election manifesto. There will be nothing left of the programme which we have developed for years. All that the Conservatives do is to promise what they have so far failed to do.

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has had, perhaps, the greatest success of all in bringing about this debate and making the Conservatives become science conscious. It is true to say that we are all scientists now. In some cases, however, just as when it was said that we were all Socialists now, some of it is done with tongue in cheek.

The fact is that education is breaking down. The Minister of Education is bound to agree with this. There is a shortage of teachers. Children go home without being taught. In due course, there will be fewer teachers if this goes on and the system will run down. The speed of scientific development is outstripping the science teachers There are any number of science teachers in the schools who keep themselves up to date only if they watch television. Sometimes, they find that the children are more ahead with science than they are because the children watch television and the teacher does not. Something must be done even to keep the scientist in school up to date as well as the scientist in the university. What we have to do is to tell the scientists and the educators to start using science in their own trade.

When America had a labour shortage and could not get labour to carry out its production, it adopted machinery which took the place of labour. Electricity and science was put at the elbow of the worker who was able to multiply his efforts considerably. This is the basis of the problem. Education isunwilling—or until now has been unwilling—to get down to the problem of using science.

In schools and workshops, teaching is done with the tools of our grandfathers. There are schools where teachers are teaching in the same way as their grandmothers did. They have not improved one iota.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

They must be in Scotland.

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire

Judging from some of the Welshmen we meet, it must be happening also in Wales.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Surely, my right lion. Friend is aware that there has been a revolution in teaching technique and that the teaching profession has been abreast of scientific advance more than most professions.

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire

I do not dispute that there are some wonderful teachers, both in universities and in schools, but anybody knows that it is one of the most difficult things to get a teacher who has been immersed in old methods to use a new method. In some cases, I have known a young teacher coming out of the college with new ideas being told by a headmaster, "Forget all that modern rubbish which you learned at the college. You will do it this way."

It is no good my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) trying to make out that the teaching profession is perfect and that something is not needed there. That is not the case. Even the ideas of our grandmothers are still being conveyed, and they are being carried into television and the radio. I heard something on the wireless the other day in a broadcast to children, some fairy stories about Japanese emperors who would not eat and have their palace built because people were starving. Why do we get that kind of nonsense in this day and age? Surely better use than that could be made of the radio. I wrote to the Director-General of the B.B.C. and suggested that he might find a better use for the wireless.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

These things are sometimes quoted outside this House. The right hon. Gentleman is not doing justice to the very great change in teaching methods that is taking place in so many schools. I wonder whether he has experience, for example, of French teaching in a large number of primary schools by modern methods which help children to communicate in a language which may not be suitable for learning the academic grammar, and so on, that we associate with French teaching in the past. What the right hon. Gentleman says may be true of Scotland, but it is not true of the rest of the United Kingdom.

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire

I have taken part in this new scientific development of the teaching of languages and I am enthusiastic about it, but it is only a recent innovation and in most parts of the country it is still a novelty. It would be interesting to hear from the Minister how many of these machines exist in Britain. I have found that television is in only a very few schools and that a good many of them did not make much use of it when they had it. So all this talk about television and instruments in schools depends upon whether use is made of them.

That bears out my point about the use of science in education. Science has been with us for a long time, but only now has it come in. I do not talk without experience, because even though I was, perhaps, a lazy lecturer, I believed in using visual methods 30 or 40 years ago and was one of the first to use slides and still films in lecturing. Therefore, I do not talk without some little experience.

The question is, are we to wait until teachers are trained or can we short-circuit the difficulty by using scientific methods? With modern methods a great deal of the building programme, of this waiting for Godot or whoever it is to turn up as teachers, can be solved. Even now a child's success might depend on his luck in getting a good or a dud teacher of mathematics. Perhaps my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West will not insist that they are all geniuses.

Therefore, it is important that every child gets the best teaching. With modern science every child in this country can have and should have the services of the best teachers, the best visual aids, the best methods. When my right hon. Friend was talking about the university of the air he was talking of something which is now practicable. It was in 1954, in a Committee Room upstairs, that I made a speech suggesting this. It seemed to some then quite a novelty, but now it is ordinary in die United States. This can now be made available to every student—and to everyone in the country, for I would hope we are not going to restrict science to the students, since all the people who are now working need some science: they need the benefit of education, and it can be got in this way. So I would support this idea of the university of the air.

Being a practical person, however, I realise that there are only a certain number of hours for services on the air, and that it is a most expensive form of education, spending £1,000 for an hour's lecture and its distribution. Of course, it is right that the country should spent on the preparation of a lecture, but the lecture should be taped, transferred to a sound recording and to a film which can be made available in the libraries of schools so that it can be used over and over again. I have heard on television a lecture on electricity, a lecture which a teacher could not have given in his own school because there would not have been the apparatus, but there was in the studio all the apparatus and machinery, even Faraday's original apparatus. That lecture could have been put on film and become a tool for every teacher in the country to use. There could be television colour films for use in schools on closed circuits.

This applies not only to education in science generally, but to the teaching of medical science as well. Colour television has been in existence in London for years in the teaching of medicine, but it is not available in every university, and some students have been quite excited to have seen it when brought in by a private firm. Why should it not be made available for teaching medical science? Why is it necessary for a hundred students to go round listening to the heartbeats of a person who is ill when electronically they could all listen to the heartbeats which the professor listens to? These aids should be got into the hospitals, the universities, and the schools.

Then there is the film strip apparatus which I think is one of the most efficient methods of teaching, and it should be made available to assist teachers in personal follow-ups. I am glad to say that there are film-strip libraries so that film strips can be used by students all over the country. It is a most valuable method of teaching, as I am sure my hon. Friend agrees.

Some teachers not only spend all day teaching but spend hours at nights and at the weekends trying to create methods and means of making their lectures interesting and their teaching successful, and I think that they should be assisted by being supplied by the nation with some of these aids to assist them in their task, to enable them to get the best out of their teaching and to ensure that the children understand it.

I am very interested in the impact of television in the United States, and I think I ought to take time to give the House some information about it. There are 45 educational TV stations—though the number has probably increased since I got this information. There are 1,800 hours of educational programmes each week. A typical station broadcasts five days a week, and eight hours and forty-five minutes a day. In the year prior to that for which I have the information there were 117 colleges, universities and schools systems offering 464 courses. Chicago has the first two years of college by TV courses, and students can learn physics over the national TV networks from one of the foremost teachers in the country.

So what I am suggesting is not illusory, but something which is actually in practice. After I had spoken about this on a previous occasion I had a letter from a lady who said: I think more co-operation might be forthcoming if the teachers could see for themselves those actually working with this medium, She said that a week or two in Buffalo, New York State, would be the finest thing for them as Buffalo, with the cooperation of all departments in the school system, puts out programmes excellent in teaching value. Everything is included—music, both vocal and instrumental; mathematics, all grades; English, all branches; foreign languages, mostly live ones. There may be Latin and Greek, but she says she does not know about that. Crafts and hobbies are encouraged, too. She points out that this is given out even to the country, and the children in districts out in the country can enjoy all these advantages without coming into the towns at all to participate in them.

So I come to the question, what is the job of science? It is not an end in itself. Science is an instrument. Medical science has the job of teaching us how to live healthily and of curing us if we do not. Mechanical science has the job of making the world a good place to live in. Economic science has the job of solving the problems of production and distribution. Cultural science, which 1 hope will not be forgotten, has the job of making it possible for us to make the best use of our faculties and of developing our well-being to the greatest extent.

Science has lengthened our life span. Already, in only 20 years, it has lessened the disabilities of disease, and people have to spend far less time in bed because of illness than they used to do. It has made darkness light because instead of sitting by wax or tallow candles we can now sit almost in daylight all through the night—but I hope we do not. Science has brought the marvels of the world into our home. We do not need to travel the world to see them. The world travels before us inside our own homes. And it has nearly given us peace, because it has now invented a weapon which makes it almost impossible to make war. This is the challenge of our age.

Give scientists a job to do, and give them the power to use their tools. The party opposite has the unfortunate name, conservatism, which, in its very essence, means trying to keep things as they are. What we want to do is make the world as it ought to be. That is the reason I am in the party I am in, because I believe that that is its purpose. Our country could be reborn as a great new power in the world, with new greatness, and we could lead the world. I hope, though, that we shall not be selfish, because many of these benefits of science are as yet very largely confined to our own country, and large numbers of people of different colours and races have not got them. This is the cause of the revolt in Africa, the revolt in the East. There will never be peace in the world till those peoples are entitled to get some of these benefits which we have so long enjoyed.

I hope that the Government's programme will be realised, if not by the present Government, by us, and by others who follow; but unless the purpose is defined, unless there is much more determination to see that direction is given to it, I am rather afraid that it may be like other programmes—simply something on paper.

6.19 p.m.

Photo of Mr Airey Neave Mr Airey Neave , Abingdon

First, I congratulate very much indeed my hon. Friend who has just returned to this House to represent Stratford-on-Avon upon his most excellent speech. He described it as his second maiden speech in the House. I can tell him that in his absence he has not lost any of his debating power.

My hon. Friend drew attention to some of the implications and possible dangers of the present enthusiasm for scientific progress, about which I yield to none in my own enthusiasm. There are obviously social and economic implications which we have not yet thoroughly thought out. For instance, in his excellent maiden speech, the hon. Member for Luton (Mr. Howie) pointed out that what we ought really to be thinking about in addition to the shortage of professional scientists is the shortage of professional engineers. We have not heard nearly enough about that, particularly in regard to mechanical engineering, in speeches around the country during the Recess.

In July we had a debate in which the future of Government scientific organisation was very fully discussed. Some reference was made to the future organisation for civil research in industry. I thought that the right hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn), while I admit that there are some shortcomings in research for industry, was unduly severe. Private industry has enormously increased its investment and the number of profestional scientists and engineers employed in it during the past few years, at any rate in the period about which he was talking.

I should like to take the point further. The F.B.I. issued a pamphlet called "Civil Research Policy", which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) in that debate. Since that debate, a very interesting one, we have had the Trend Report and its recommendations and the Report of the Robbins Committee also, and there has been a great nation-wide discussion about the whole question of the future of science. I happened to hear the speech by Sir Zolly Zuckerman to the Institute of Directors in the Albert Hall the other day, a very interesting speech, in which he said what a large number of generalisations were being bandied about, such as that 90 per cent, of the scientists who ever lived are living now. But they do not possess, said Sir Zolly, 90 per cent, of the scientific knowledge. There were also such phrases as "Science is growing at an exponential rate"—whatever that may mean. I do not know whether anybody really knows what it means.

We also had the speech of the Leader of the Opposition at Scarborough. It contained a very large number of platitudes about science. The right hon. Gentleman made one printing error, if I may so call it, in "Labour's Plans for Science", which he has had published. I wish to refer to it because it relates to my constituency. There is an inaccuracy, and I hope that the attention of the publishers of the pamphlet will be drawn to it. If I may correct the slip, the right hon. Gentleman was reported as saying that Harwell and Capenhurst are running down and that "hundreds of trained technicians will be redundant." He should have said "Aldermaston and Capenhurst". Since Harwell is in my constituency, perhaps I might tell him that, according to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, there is no prospect of redundancy of trained technicians at Harwell at present. The right hon. Gentleman was, I think, referring to Aldermaston, where there is a run-down and where it is hoped that part of the run-down will be achieved through natural wastage, though the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority told me this morning that there may be some difficulty in certain engineering grades.

Ever since 1945 continuous efforts have been made to produce more professional scientists and engineers, and particularly to remedy the shortage of mechanical engineers. The hon. Member for Luton said something about the status of the professional engineer. This is a very important point. I wonder whether those concerned with technical education and the whole question of improving our scientific manpower will look at this point in some constructive manner. Could we not have some status comparable with what we find on the Continent? The hon. Gentleman referred to that, and I support what he said.

What we have been engaged in, perhaps too slowly in some cases but certainly increasingly fast in recent years, is putting science to work to develop new products and new industries. During the period since 1945 the annual output of scientists has trebled, and in the last seven years the population of professional scientists and engineers has increased by about 40 per cent, a figure which applies also to the increase in the number of scientists employed in private industry. I am glad that this is so.

However, there still remains a very big demand to meet the needs of industry. Although in British industry—this is why I said I thought that the right hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire was being a trifle severe—there have undoubtedly been shortcomings, British industry has increased its own research and development expenditure from £68 million to £213 million in the past few years, a very considerable increase. As I said, there has also been a substantial increase in the employment of scientists and engineers.

But until recently we have not seen the results of our investment in terms of economic growth. The time will come when we certainly shall do so, but we must continue this investment and ensure that it pays off. The real problem of industry is not the basic research, which concerns only about 10 per cent, of the total outlay. It is the applied research which is really important for new products and new industries. It involves for industry new risks. That is why the F.B.I, proposals referred to last year were made.

Since then the Trend Committee has reported. The F.B.I, proposed that the Government and industry should each provide an additional £50 million over the next five years for development contracts. These would employ an extra 12,000 qualified men in private industry. This was a proposal which was generally welcomed, although the major question here was what was to be the selection machinery for the contracts. That still remains the big subject for discussion. The Trend Committee has now made a proposal for a selection authority which I shall shortly discuss.

The F.B.I. in its Report made a distinction between the situation where the Government are buyers and the situation where they are not, and it laid down certain principles which are very important because they appear to a certain extent in the general outlook of the Trend Report. First of all, it said that private industry must finance a very large proportion of its own research and development. I think that most people concerned with industry would feel that that is absolutely right. Private industry should continue to do so to the full extent of its resources.

The second thing—this is very important for those who have actually been concerned with the practical side of research and development contracts—is that research does not lend itself to too rigid a system of cost control. Those of us who have been connected with these problems will realise that this may involve special methods of monitoring. But the question that we come back to every time is, who are to be the choosers of the firms? The F.B.I, wanted a committee of industry, the D.S.I.R., the universities and perhaps N.E.D.C. Now in the Trend Committee Report we have an entirely new set-up suggested, which I wish to discuss.

This is called the new Industrial Research and Development Authority. In paragraph 89 on page 39 of the Trend Committee Report there are very interesting arguments as to why this authority should be set up, including one which I think is very important, and I hope that whoever replies to the debate for the Government tonight will comment on this and say how the Government envisage this method of selection of firms for development contracts. The Report says: We feel that if research and development are to make an effective contribution to in- dustrial growth the responsible agency must be more executive in nature than a research council. At the same time we believe that the techniques required in this field are more likely to be operated freely and without inhibition by an independent organisation than by a Government Department. That is what it is suggesting.

This certainly may be a sound policy in respect of the situation in which the Government are not buyers but where there is financial contribution for certain development contracts. But what I do not quite understand from the Report is what happens when the Government are the buyers and where the Treasury must provide money. The question of Treasury control in regard to the matter of research and development contracts is constantly being faced in this House, and previous to the Trend Committee it was suggested, I think by some hon. Members on both sides of the House, and also in the F.B.I. Report, that Government Departments should on their own authority place certain development contracts with industry, with, of course, funds allocated by the Treasury.

When we talk of modernisation, one of the first things we should consider is the modernisation of the machinery of Government and, possibly, the machinery of the procedure of this House. Modernisation of Government machinery in relation to the Treasury is very important where the Government are to buy. I should like to see the big spending Departments have a certain amount of autonomy, and I would place the responsibility for decisions not upon officials but upon Ministers of State especially appointed to these Departments to deal with questions of finance.

This question of research and development would apply whether there were a newly-organised science Ministry or any other authority to deal with development contracts. Having made these brief observations on civil research in industry, I hope that the Government will explain what is in their mind about future organisation, with particular reference to the question of development contracts. This is a most interesting debate and I congratulate the Government on the steady progress made so far.

6.31 p.m.

Photo of Miss Jennie Lee Miss Jennie Lee , Cannock

I, too, congratulate the two hon. Members who have made maiden speeches today. Both were highly individual. One brought commonsense to bear, based on direct experience, and made an appeal about which I wish to say something later. The other—the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude)—^brought back to the House his very special capacity for communicating philosophic doubts.

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition gave a well balanced presentation of both the needs of children in the secondary schools and of those in the higher reaches of education. From the Government Front Bench, however, very little indeed was said about the younger children. I recognise the difficulties that time imposes on all of us, but I want to begin by restressing that we cannot possibly tackle this problem of education unless we accept the fact that a whole generation has to be given an upward thrust if we are to adjust ourselves to the needs of this new technological age.

I have begun with the most bread-and-butter argument—that, to earn our living in the world, we shall need these new levels of skill among the minority who qualify for technical colleges and universities; but we will also need a pervading atmosphere of greater optimism, greater self-confidence and a good deal more information among all our younger generation who are now going into industry.

That is why I was grateful to the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon for at least introducing the problem of the 11-plus and the tripartite system. It is fascinating, in a debate of this kind, to find how many ideas are common to both sides of the House. We are all agreed that we want more university places and more scientific and educational opportunities. But, just as fascinating as the destinations we agree about, is the rate of pace at which each side wishes to travel.

I say very respectfully to hon. Members opposite that they have to start hurrying up. It is no use expecting us to go on year after year on these benches explaining how, not only on the bread-and-butter level of earning our living but also in terms of the personal happiness and fulfilment of individuals, such things have to be done, when hon. Members opposite deny our arguments year after year and then, at the last gasp, in a piecemeal and ineffective way, begin to accept part of them. In our debate yesterday we were even on the verge of public ownership of land. I should like some hon. Members opposite to have private talks with some of my hon. Friends on that issue.

On the question of younger children, the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon said that perhaps we should give attention to the causes of many modern discontents and tensions rather than to scientific investigations into tranquilisers and the rest, and I entirely agree. But I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not underestimate just how great a tension it is for a home where children are studying for the 11-plus. Occasionally, of course, everything works out all right if Johnnie goes to grammar school and Jimmie stays in secondary modern school. But very often such distinctions cause a great deal of unnecessary tension and unnecessary hardship.

Another very important factor is that, from that earlyage, we begin to give to the great majority of our young citizens a sense of failure, unless they are specially good at passing academic examinations at the regulation age of 11-plus and, later on, at 15 and other ages. This is wholly bad and that is why some of us on this side of the House care so much about the comprehensive principle in education.

We do not ask that it should be applied identically in every part of the country, but what we do say is that we must abolish the secondary modern school. We can have grammar schools, comprehensive of various kinds, but we cannot possibly expect to have two-thirds of the school children in schools, a few of which are excellent indeed, but the great majority of which are just not up to standard in buildings, teachers, turnover of teachers, equipment and the rest.

What is so said is that sometimes even when children from secondary modern schools, with infinite effort, pass the 13-plus to move into a grammar school they are still not accepted in the general stream of grammar school children. The teachers often consider it a nuisance or a handicap that they have had no teaching in French or other languages and they are put in a special stream. Yet they are relatively lucky in making the grade to grammar schools.

I cannot accept that it is right for any local authority to decide the percentage of its children that should pass in this way. However, I do not want to get bogged down in argument about the 13-plus, because the basic case is that if we want to do the best in terms of the good life, of a balanced, reasonably serene life, for the younger generation, at least they must have comparative esteem, with the same playgrounds, the same uniforms or similar status uniforms, and certain subjects in common until some go on to more academic levels and others go on to work.

Even more was I fascinated by what my hon. Friend the Member for Luton (Mr. Howie) had to say about engineers, because I want to give a warning to the House that we should not make the same mistakes about the 15-plus that we have made about the 11-plus. Slowly, painfully and laboriously we are correcting the 11-plus mistakes and moving forward to the comprehensive principle. At this moment—and this is one of the criticisms I make of the Robbins Report—there is far more emphasis placed on the students who will go to university or higher technical education. I agree that we must give the utmost opportunity and bring the training at colleges for teachers and the colleges of advanced technology up to university standard.

What will be the situation when one lad in a family—or girl—begins to earn his living at 15 or 15-plus—and I hope that it will soon be 16—while another member of the family goes on to higher education, doing nothing to earn a living until in his twenties and sometimes in his late twenties? I foresee social, psychological and industrial difficulties unless we apply what I have called the comprehensive principle to the problems of those between 15 and 20as well as to the younger children.

By that I mean that many a boy or girl, because of home circumstances or because he feels like doing so, leaves school and starts to earn a living at 15, but must have kept open for him cross country routes back to the colleges and universities at later stages of his development. We have some of those routes now, but they are too narrow and too few. For instance, I was delighted to find a National Coal Board college in my own constituency teaching young colliers whose first trip underground was with a tutor. This is a revolution in the attitude to the youngsters, to their fears and pride and nervousness and all the other things which make up a young man starting to earn his living. One youngster may go underground wanting to do nothing more than routine jobs—although even routine jobs now require a great deal of skill—while another may be a great mining engineer of the future, or just that highly qualified engineer so much needed. But he may not develop until he is 16, 17 or 18.

I mean these cross-country routes to function both ways. There are sometimes youngsters, pressured by their families or their natural abilities, who are excellent at passing examinations when they are 11 or 15, but who are sick of it by the time they are 17 or 19 and who begin to feel the tensions and the pressures too much and who want to start to earn their own living. It is dreadful if they have to start doing so in an atmosphere which says that they are failures.

In the past, it would have been impossible for us to tackle this type of problem, because class and caste divisions were too great. It was assumed that one element in the community would do the hard, under-recognised, underpaid manual labour, while others, because of their birth and home, would never work, or would have clean-hand jobs and would have higher education of some kind. One of the reasons why there has been so much revolt about the 11-plus is that we are dealing with children not from different social environments or different homes, but often from the same home. This applies at later ages. One brother may go into industry to earn his living when he is 15, and another brother may go to college. The generation which starts to earn its living at 15 and which helps to pay for the education of its brothers at technical colleges and so on will not accept a sharp distinction in status, in remuneration and in everything else that goes to make up later social life.

If as a nation we are adjusting ourselves to the needs of the future, I hope that we will keep that cross-country journey in mind when tomorrow we debate the apprenticeship system. I do not want now to deal with subjects appropriate to tomorrow, but in passing I will say that it is not good enough for the young wage earner to be at the mercy of the location in which he lives or the factory where he works. It may not be the fault of the employer and the firm may be too small to have an apprenticeship scheme, but part of the education system between 15 and 20 should ensure higher level apprenticeship schemes for those who go into industry and adequate adult education courses to make sure that we give every possible help to cross-fertilisation between those who start with practical work and those who begin on more academic levels.

Like other hon. Members, I am worried about the possibility of implementing an adequate university building programme in the next few years. We need not waste much time hitting a man when he is down and the Government are very far down, but even a Labour Government will not be able to make up for the shortcomings of the last 12 years in the first few years of office. A Labour Government will have to face facts in its priorities of building new and extending existing universities, but I hope that in this development, especially in the large industrial centres, there will be far more communication than now between university, technical and other students who are pure science or pure literature students and those whose subjects are taught by the more direct application of immediately earning a living.

The building of residential accommodation for two-thirds of the expanding university population must be considered, but it is a major proposition and might not have the same priority as providing the maximum number of university places. Going round universities, like other hon. Members, I find great differences in the standards of amenities provided for students, especially in the newer universities. I do not see why we should not give priority to an imaginative type of students' union—the majority of students are poor—so that they can come from their bed-and-breakfast lodgings and have a club, a gathering place, a union, which is heavily subsidised and devised with imagination and where they can have food at reasonable prices and a place to discuss everything under the sun, with all the advantages of the new technological age in the form of television and everything else which can help their studies.

I am one of those who believe that the University of the Air has a great future. We may be surprised when we find not only the students of the familiar student years, 11, 15 and 20, but men and women starting at 20 or 40 or even 60 to refresh their minds by taking opportunities which only a very few could win for themselves in days when they had only books to help them. This will not only refresh their private lives but be of considerable benefit to the nation.

I conclude by reinforcing what has already been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Luton. Pure science is splendid. We want to lead the world in that field and provide every possible opportunity for it. But if Britain is to earn her living, as she must, and not develop a society of neurotics, she must take not one but many diverse steps in order to ensure that the great majority of her youngsters who go into agriculture and industry, not unskilled but nevertheless needing to acquire a considerable degree of skill, are given every opportunity in terms not only of remuneration and status for the practical work they do but also of moving over to the academic level if that be their wish.

6.50 p.m.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) for once again directing our attention to people. All that we have been talking about today are the statistics that go with them. The subject nevertheless concerns individual people of all ages. It is all too easy to forget that individuals are involved when we talk about these percentages and the vast outpouring of millions of pounds. But in the hon. Lady's approach she seems to overlook the kind of task that has faced us since the end of the Second World War. The first thing that we had to do was to try to provide a sufficient number of secondary educational establishments in order to ensure a secondary education for all.

In carrying out this task we have become to some extent world leaders in school architecture, apart from anything else, and people have come from all over the world to admire what we have done—although I sometimes wish that the architects who designed these buildings were made to teach architecture in a room one wall of which consisted entirely of glass, outside which a considerable amount of public activity was taking place, because they would then understand why many education authorities are having to buy Venetian blinds. Generally, however, the buildings are a credit to us.

We must now ensure that in addition to all the modernisation that has gone on while we have been providing secondary modern schools, we deal adequately with the primary school problem. On top of this we have had thrust upon us the colossal problem of having to build new universities and colleges of advanced technology. Let us not forget that it is less than ten years since we began the creation of these colleges. There were none ten years ago. When the hon. Lady says that twelve years have been wasted she is not giving a fair presentation of the facts. I believe that on reflection she will regret that remark, because it is so inaccurate. Whatever else one may say it cannot be denied that there has been a remarkable advance during the last twelve years.

Right hon. and hon. Members opposite must tell us whether they would be prepared, if certain things are desirable—and who would deny that this is desirable?—to let the economy go rip in the process. If they would be, let us consider what would be the net effect. The value of the pound would fall. We should get less value than we are now getting for the money we spend—less than we would have got if we had cut our clothes according to the cloth. That has been the problem all through. I wish that the Leader of the Opposition were here so that I could say this directly to him.

We have this problem still before us. We ended the war impoverished. We lost most of our reserves. We have been investing long and borrowing short, and our reserves have not been sufficient to bridge the gap. We are still in that position, yet we have been doing things which, if they had been done by any commercial company, would probably have caused it to go out of business. Yet we have managed it, and it is greatly to the credit of those people who have contributed to the effort. It is a great mistake on the part of the hon. Lady, or anybody else, to run down what has been done. It is a remarkable achievement, and the Government deserve full credit for its part. But the Government would be the first to say that it was not only they who had achieved this success; it has been a great task for the teachers.

If we consider the tremendous advance that has taken place in respect of teacher-training colleges we appreciate what a major achievement is involved. What would have been the use of building all the buildings to which the hon. Lady referred if we did not have the teachers to teach in them? One of our aims is to reduce the size of classes, as I am sure the hon. Lady would agree. Many classes are still far too large. We must therefore make sure that we have the people to take advantage of all the building we do, and that classes are kept down to a size which will ensure that the pupils derive the fullest benefit from the enormously expensive education which is now being provided.

I am glad that the hon. Lady has got us back on to the subject of individual people, because I want to refer to the most important person in education, namely, the Minister. We have had the Trend Report as well as the Robbins Report, and there is one aspect in which both Reports agree. It is that the Minister for Science should be brought into education in a big way. In opening the debate today the Leader of the Opposition dealt with this problem to some extent. He seemed to think that if we could manage to alter the purpose and structure of the Ministry of Education there would be no need to have to face the question of whether or not education, higher and otherwise, should be in the hands of two Ministers or one.

I suggest that, owing to the very recent date on which both Reports were published, it would be a very rash person who rushed to any final conclusions, but I have formed certain tentative opinions about the recommendations contained in both Reports. It seems to me that there is a case for bringing the Minister for Science into scientific education, especially at higher and university levels. But I am quite certain that if he is brought in it will be essential to reduce or sub-divide his scientific responsibilities. The task which the Minister for Science has, especially if the Trend Report is implemented, is so enormous that he would be able to take only such a cursory interest in education that he might just as well not be there at all. The matter might as well be left in the hands of one Minister who is generally interested in education.

We must face resolutely the problem of what is to be the machinery of Government and Ministerial control in the great task that lies ahead, and in our efforts to meet this great task. The first requirement before implementing either the Robbins Report or the Trend Report should be to get the Ministerial position right. It has been my experience that if one does not get the headquarters right, one is less likely to succeed in an eventual struggle of whatever kind it may be. Unless we get the Ministerial structure right in this matter, we shall delay getting the correct machinery of Government below Ministerial level, and the longer that delay lasts the less likely it will be that the rest of the structure will be adjusted properly.

I was glad to see the tribute to the existing structure in the Trend Report. The way in which that has grown up is remarkable and a good example of what happened to Topsy—it "just growed". Our scientific arrangements for the various efforts in which we have indulged have been extraordinarily haphazard in their growth, and yet repeatedly the Trend Report quotes the Haldane Report of fifty years ago in which was foreseen the situation prevailing today. This might be recalled by hon. Members opposite because that Report was available when they were in office and they decided not to implement it. It may be that at last we shall be able to do so. I am certain that the present situation demands a big change in the structure. Whether such a change is overdue is a matter for debate. Personally I consider it would be a rather abortive discussion because it deals with the irredeemable past. But our present position results partly from delaying too long in taking steps which should have been taken following the recommendations of the Haldane Report.

I hope that before anything is done to implement the Robbins Report or the Trend Report we may come to a decision regarding the Minister or Ministers. Having done that, either the one or the two Ministers could then work out the necessary sub-divisions and put recommendations to the Cabinet. That is the way in which we ought to proceed, rather than to implement all, or a greater part, of either Report and then take a decision about the Ministers; because if that is done, we may find that we have set up a structure which would have worked better under some different Ministerial arrangement. Either a Government govern or they do not. It is not much good having Ministers unless they control their Departments and report to this House on the work of their Departments. It is possible to get the cart before the horse—but perhaps "cart" is a rather unfortunate analogy in these days. I should like to reserve judgment on the rest of the Trend Report until that decision has been taken.

The machinery of Government is a subject which for some extraordinary reason all too quickly becomes boring to politicians. Yet it happens to be about the most important part of Government and something in which hon. Members ought to take an interest but very rarely do. There is a real risk that we shall aim at excessive tidiness and create one of those lovely charts rather like the new defence White Paper—with lines on it and little loops where one line jumps over another line, and all that. And there may be all the little boxes in little separate compartments and at intervals dotted lines to show that there is occasional liaison between two Departments. That probably means that the heads of the Departments lunch together at the Athenaeum, or something like that. We must be a little careful about all this.

The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research has done a wonderful job over the years. The hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) suggested that the first person to draw attention to these matters was the Leader of the Opposition in his speech at Scarborough. I should like to remind the right hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Cooperation, and some hon. Members on this side of the House, produced a pamphlet on science and industry over a year ago. The pamphlet contained some recommendations which we are delighted to see reflected in the Trend Report. We did not visualise the disappearance of D.S.I.R. I do not know whether this new organisation, the Industrial Research and Development Authority, is the right one to replace D.S.I.R.

We have a number of other organisations. There is the Advisory Committee on Scientific Policy which has its critics. In the Trend Report the suggestion is made that a new body be formed to advise the Minister and be called the Advisory Council. That would be a rather more robust body and do a great deal more work—in that it would meet more often—than the old Advisory Committee on Scientific Policy. This Committee which reports each year to Parliament has done wonderful work, especially in connection with the need for scientific manpower. I thought that the Leader of the Opposition could not have read the careful study, made at the request of the Minister for Science, of the reasons why scientists emigrate and the specific recommendations which have been made.

It is suggested that the salaries in universities should be reviewed, and the number of senior posts in universities should be increased. It is suggested that research grants should be awarded at the maximum speed; that the research budgets of university scientific departments should be increased by a system of annual grants from Research Councils, and that ties up closely with paragraphs 53 and60 of the Trend Report. It is also recommended that there should be an increasing scale of technical assistance at all levels for university research and that post-doctoral fellowships be awarded, to be held on their return, to outstanding men before they leave for research experience overseas.

In paragraph 22 of the Report of the A.C.S.P. we have the assurance that these six proposals are under considera- tion and action has been taken on some. I award full marks for that. It shows that the machinery we have is working. The Advisory Committee on Scientific Policy sets up a special Committee which reports to the Minister and steps are taken to implement the Report. That is the object of setting up such a body.

One of the great difficulties of Members of Parliament is to keep abreast of the Reports which are issued. There is the Report of the Advisory Committee on Scientific Policy and the Annual Reports from all the Research Councils. We can also get the Reports of the Research Associations of each industry and those of D.S.I.R. and N.E.D.C. and the Atomic Energy Authority. There are the Estimates and all that, and now we have the Trend Report and the Rob-bins Report. It requires effort in order to keep abreast of all these Reports and I sympathise with any hon. Member who, like myself, does not possess a scientific degree—or for that matter, any degree at all.

This matter of science is one over which it is all too easy to mislead the public. There are certain bits which permit of demagogy and they are not the bits which really matter. The bits which really matter appear from the outside to be as dry as dust and they nearly all involve the machinery of Government. I consider therefore that the Government are to be congratulated on having set up the Trend Committee and I think that its Report contains far more than people have yet realised. I am delighted to note that so much is exactly what my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation and other hon. Friends and myself reported on about a year ago. I hope that at the proper time it will be implemented and Parliament will be enabled to have a full-dress debate on what should be the machinery of Government in this connection. The last time we had a debate on science, about 12 of us attended throughout the debate. It is not the sort of subject which normally lends itself to attracting great attention in this House, but it is very important. We could waste thousands of millions if we got this wrong. The sort of sums we are dealing with are colossal.

Let us get the Ministerial decision right. First, who is to be the Minister dealing with this subject? Should there be one or two Ministers? If there are two, what will be the consequence on the second one and what will be the variation in his own present job? These things must be decided first. I hope they will be decided and that we shall get Cabinet recommendations on them so that we can go ahead to seek early implementation, but time is short. The Robbins Report has shown that time is short from an educational point of view, but it is also very short from a scientific and industrial development point of view. We have had some good ideas put before us. It is up to us in Parliament and in industry to see that we do the right thing as soon as possible.

7.12 p.m.

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

I wish to begin by echoing the congratulations offered by everyone who has spoken in this debate to the hon. Member for Luton (Mr. Howie) on his very stimulating maiden speech. I particularly enjoyed it as a fellow engineer. I heartily agree with the hon. Member in the remarks he made with reference to talking more about engineers and less about scientists. I shall follow his advice later in my remarks. Although some hon. Members opposite have said that his victory was "the end of the chapter", we can all at least agree that his maiden speech in this House was a very emphatic punctuation mark.

I also enjoyed very much the speech of the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude), although I found that rather too theoretical for my taste. I cannot be quite so complimentary about the speech of the Chief Secretary, which seemed to contain no policy whatever. He said about the Robbins Report that the Government White Paper contains everything the Government want to say about it at this stage. He was not going to deal with the Newsom Report until some one interrupted him. I think he said that the Newsom Report was something for consideration.

On the Trend Report, I do not think the right hon. Gentleman referred to anything but amounts of money spent on research in the last few years. We have listened to an interesting speech from the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke), but on the problem of Ministerial control, all that the right hon. Gentleman said was that certain interim arrangements have been made. They seemed conditional on certain things happening in the coming by-election. I suggest that the Government should not push their luck too much in that respect because one day the result will not be what is anticipated.

Dealing with policy, not as electioneering as the Chief Secretary could be described as dealing with it, the Government say they have accepted the principal recommendations of the Robbins Report that courses of higher education should be available to every child in the country who is capable of benefiting from them. That does not compare very well with the actual situation described by the Leader of the Opposition in his opening speech, in which he quoted from the Robbins Committee Report. There we are told that from a peak of 75 per cent, of children qualified to enter university actually doing so in 1957, the percentage has declined in the most recent year for which figures are available to 61 per cent.

I should like to go into the reasons why this has happened. First I think the idea of a pool of ability has been demonstrated to be a fallacy. That was exposed very thoroughly in the Robbins Report. The expansion of universities which has taken place so far—we admit that much—has not been accompanied by any lowering of standards or an increase in the failure rate in the students at universities.

There is still a vast amount of ability going to waste. The Robbins Report tells us that 97 per cent, of children of manual workers are not getting any higher education at all. This, it says, is not due to any difference of innate ability but to environmental factors which are always under-estimated. It is now agreed by educational experts that there is no such thing as an objective test of intelligence unaffected by a child's home life and school life. As both improve with better provision of secondary education and a rise in the standard of living, there is bound to be a vast rise in the number of children capable of benefiting from a university education. This has not been taken into account in previous calculations by the Government.

It is quite true that some of the international comparisons which have been made in the past are misleading and it is easy to be superficial about this. We had certainly imagined that they would show this country in a less favourable light than Robbins shows it, but in one respect we are right at the bottom of the league table of European countries and the United States and the Soviet Union. That is in the proportion of first degrees in technology to those in science and technology as a whole. The Robbins Report says that science not only attracts greater numbers but also attracts students of better quality than does technology. It goes on in the same paragraph to say that means must be found to attract more of the abler students to technology. This is a pious hope with which Robbins, in the terms of reference given to that Committee, was not able to deal.

It may be that granting the C.A.T.s university status and establishment of the S.I.S.T.E.R.s, as they are becoming known, will help by focusing public attention on technological education. It will certainly deal with one of the three factors mentioned by the hon. Member for Luton as discouraging students from entering upon a technological career. But I think something more will be required. It demands a complete change in the attitude of both parents and teachers to technology compared with their attitude to science.

Several hon. Members referred to the snobbery which still pervades the thinking of those guiding young people on this subject. That came out very well in the Report by Professor Peterson on Technology in the Sixth Form, published earlier this year. It is true that the demand for scientists and technologists has been increasing faster than anyone anticipated. It is important to note the reasons why this has happened. It has been established that many more scientists and technologists are going in for careers where they do not necessarily use professional knowledge.

That came out in the 1961 census in which it was found that 50,000 of the 260,000 scientists and technologists in this country were employed in jobs where they were not making full use of professional qualifications. The same point was made in the Report of the Committee on Scientific Manpower. Mainly as a result of this, but it is not the only reason, we have dangerously under-estimated the requirements for scientists and technologists, particularly technologists. Only in 1961 Sir Solly Zuckerman forecast that there would be a rough balance between demand and supply by 1965, although he said there would still be a surplus of scientists and a deficiency of technologists by that date.

His estimates were based on the principle of separate assessments of the requirements of different technology-based industries. This technique has had limitations which the Robbins Report points out. We get new industries growing up which had not been foreseen at the time the assessment was made. We also get the other factor I mentioned of many engineers and technologists going into posts where they are not actually using their qualifications. Against this increasing need we have an alarming drop in the number of technologists qualifying below the accepted number. This is brought out in the last Report of the Committee on Scientific Manpower published this October.

The rough balance which Sir Solly Zuckerman said we could expect by 1965 has been delayed indefinitely and there will be acute shortages in certain disciplines, particularly in electrical and mechanical engineering. This comes out from the Report I have mentioned. The Prime Minister has used a superficially attractive phrase to which several people have referred, "Acceleration from a prepared position", but unfortunately when it comes to higher education and higher education in the specialised disciplines to which I am referring we cannot expect the machine to respond instantaneously to touches on the throttle.

In spite of all the talk one hears in this House and outside about the importance of technology to future growth rates, I do not think that this has yet been realised in the country as a whole. I endorse very heartily the remark made by Professor Sir John Baker some years ago; "Science earns no dividends until it has passed further through the mills of technology. "I ask the Government to tell us how they will rectify this expected short-fall in these important disciplines—important from the point of view of growth in the economy.

I agree that in this debate we ought to be discussing Government machinery. I very much enjoyed listening to the speech of the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely. I think it a pity that more speeches in the debate have not concentrated on the vitally important question of Ministerial responsibility. The hon. Member said that it was probably too early for us to make any firm proposition, but I think that the more discussion of it that we can have the more likely we are ultimately to reach an acceptable decision. We have two proposals. There is that of Robbins for a Minister of Arts and Science responsible for the complete and much enlarged range of autonomous institutions financed from the new Grants Commission and also absorbing the functions of the Minister for Science. Then we have what one might call the Shearman system. Mr. Shearman made a minority recommendation that the whole system should be under one Minister leaving the functions of the Minister for Science to be dealt with as a completely separate question.

The crux of the matter seems to be the treatment which expenditure on research in the university might be expected to get under the two different systems. University teachers believe that the Robbins solution is the better one from this point of view. A friend of mine who is a professor wrote to me the other day to say that a Minister of Education responsible for the whole of education, higher and lower, must necessarily be weighted towards teaching, but he admitted in the next paragraph of his letter that experience with the C.A.T.s does not bear this out. He maintains that this is because the universities exist as a model, independent of the Ministry, to which the C.A.T.S have been pressing to conform. I think that the safeguard is the existence of the Grants Committee principle and the extension of that principle to this much wider range of autonomous institutions, and a reaffirmation of the doctrine that individual items of expenditure recommended by the Grants Committee will not be queried by the Minister responsible. I do not think that any system which it is possible to devise could prevent the type of interference which happened last year and to which reference has been made several times in the debate. I do not think that it would be politically possible for either the Minister of Arts and Sciences or the Minister of the much enlarged educational system as a whole to dictate to the new grants committee the relative amounts of money which are to be spent on teaching and research.

On the other hand, there is a danger in the Robbins proposals which the university teachers have not spotted. The proposed Minister of Arts and Sciences would control earmarked grants as well as the total U.G.C. sum, and I think that it could be a temptation to him in certain circumstances to adjust the total of these earmarked grants in the light of the U.G.C. recommendations in order to confine expenditure on research within some completely arbitrary limit.

More and more children are staying on at school anyway, whether we accept the recommendations of the Newsom Committee to raise the school-leaving age or not, and I think that this is another factor which strengthens the case for a unified Ministry which could coordinate the whole of educational policy from primary school level up to Ph.D. It will appear from my remarks so far that I very much favour the Shearman proposals against those of the majority of the Robbins Committee.

On this subject of the school leaving age, we had a promise from the Minister of Education last November that he would make an announcement during the lifetime of this Parliament, subject to certain conditions, and I think that there has been a renewal of that promise given to us by the Chief Secretary this afternoon. But if the decision is not made now we shall lose the opportunity of doing it at a point in history when the number of children reaching the age of 16 will be the minimum. If it is delayed thereafter, beyond the 1965 entry, as proposed in the Newsom Committee's Report, the change-over will be a very much more expensive and difficult matter.

One ought also to be considering at the same time changes in the law in order to make the age of transfer between primary and secondary education more flexible. We have heard a lot about the unsuitability of the age of 11 for transfer from primary to secondary education. This age was arrived at as a result of working backwards from a school leaving age of 14, when that applied. If one is to have a higher leaving age than ever before, the way is open for reconsidering the whole question of the age of transfer, and logically this study ought to be completed in time for its results to be implemented at the same time as the school-leaving age is increased to 16, which I hope will be 1965.

I want to say a few words about the Trend Report and some of the things which have been said on that subject this afternoon. It is axiomatic, as Trend himself said, that Governments should play a greater part in future in stimulating civil research and development. This is made explicit in paragraph 87 of the Report: We have felt obliged and entitled to assume that it will be the Government's purpose to promote industrial research and development more intensively than hitherto, as an essential element in the sustained growth of the economy. In passing, it was a pity that the terms of reference of the Trend Committee were not rather wider so that the Committee could have considered the amounts by which Government expenditure on civil research should be increased, as well as the machinery by which this was to be brought about.

I seem to detect an inconsistency between this strongly expressed opinion of the Trend Committee and the remarks which were made by the Chief Secretary in his speech. There was a note of self-satisfaction in that speech about the amount devoted by the Government to civil research, yet we have the Report of the Trend Committee saying that not enough has been done and that the amounts must be increased.

One of the ways by which this should be done, according to Trend, is the use of civil development contracts, and the Chief Secretary mentioned this particularly and alluded to three examples. I believe that I am right in saying that these are the only three examples so far of civil development contracts given direct to industry, and I agree with Trend that a great extension of this technique is highly to be desired.

What we have to discuss this afternoon is the machinery for determining scientific policy rather than the scale of effort, and this is exactly the opposite of what the Chief Secretary tried to do. Whatever is done with the semi-autonomous bodies through which the research and development effort is coordinated, the problem still remains of how science and technology can be brought to the service of policy making within the main Government Departments rather than being thought of as essentially separate from it and requiring a Ministry of its own. For example, there is nothing in the recommendation of the Trend Committee, that three separate agencies should be substituted for D.S.I.R., which will help with this problem at all. In paragraph 97 the Trend Report lays down a principle which I think is of very great importance and to which I should like to refer. The Report reads: … where a particular research establishment is predominantly concerned with research which is of a relatively immediate and operational nature and is related to an executive function of Government which is wholly or mainly the responsibility of one Department, the advantage will generally lie in vesting the control of the station in that Department. This, I think, is a very good principle and one which ought to have been followed, but in the next paragraph of the Report we are told that the Trend Committee decided not to recommend the transfer of the Road Research Laboratory and the Building Research Station to the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Public Building and Works respectively. This question, the Committee said, had been examined at some time in the past and a decision had been made against it. The arguments, it was said, had not changed since that previous occasion on which it was examined, and the Trend Committee decided that the stations should be left where they were. But it seems to me that the main reason that this obviously sensible change has not been recommended is that there is no one in the Departments concerned who would be capable of exercising supervision over the work of these establishments. There is not enough scientific and technological "know-how" within the Ministers concerned for them to be able to assume this function.

The same reasoning applies in one other case—that of the Laboratory of the Government Chemist. I think that it is inappropriate to put this under the I.R.D.A. considering that it does no direct work for industry whatever. If the rule which I have quoted were followed, this Laboratory should be transferred to the Customs and Excise for whom it does about 60 per cent, of its work.

One final comment on the Trend Report: I am not certain that the division of the functions of the Science Research Council according to disciplines is the correct move. Many of the most exciting new advances in science are being made at the boundaries between the different disciplines. The Trend Report itself points out the dangers inherent in this method of dividing the effort.

But however civil science is to be reorganised in the future, we have to remember—the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely made this point—that a tidy and logical administrative structure does not necessarily mean a measurable improvement in the returns which one can expect from the effort being put into civil science. Conversely, the existing machinery, haphazard and wasteful though it may seem to us, has not prevented Britain from reaching a leading position in many scientific disciplines. The Chief Secretary mentioned some of them, including nuclear energy, and I would name one in which I am particularly interested—radio-astronomy.

I hope very much that although we may disagree about the means of carrying out scientific policy, the House will be unanimous in demanding from the Government that science and technology will be given a more central place than ever before in every Department of Government.

7.35 p.m.

Photo of Miss Betty Harvie Anderson Miss Betty Harvie Anderson , Renfrewshire East

I hope that the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) will forgive me if I do not follow the latter part of his speech. In a few minutes I hope to come to the earlier part of his speech, where I do not share his view.

It is true to say that probably all hon. Members share the belief that sufficient colleges should be set up in which the arts, science and rhetoric should be taught and that no one should be denied the opportunity, because of poverty, of a place at these colleges. From these colleges our university recruits ought to be selected. I do not know whether the Robbins Committee took any evidence from the Book of Discipline upon which the Scottish educational system is based. It was written in 1516, and it seems to me that our aim has not altered materially from that date to this.

I wish to refer to only three points. They arise out of the Robbins Report. Although this is a very restricted field in the terms of today's debate, I do so because I believe it important that at this stage we should set the pace for the progress of the recommendations envisaged by the Robbins Report. The first point to which I wish to refer is the staffing problem which the recommendations create. Very little has been said about that in the debate today. The second is its effect upon the distribution of manpower nationally. The third is the possible pool of ability from which these requirements are to be met.

On the staffing problem, in a recent article in The Times, Professor Jones of Aberdeen University made it clear that in many cases staffing is already overstrained. He made the additional point that any overloading in the immediate future was likely to be to the detriment of research. I think that most of us are aware of the problems presented at present throughout our universities and higher education establishments, particularly where many of those on the staff are faced, as in the schools, with too many people to teach. But with university education this is probably a far more important aspect, since it means, in effect, that the time which staff have available to devote to research is inevitably restricted.

I think that the necessary influx of staff required for too quick a promotion of the Robbins ideas would create the difficulties throughout the whole of our educational system of understaffing and restricted research. This is shown on page 140 of Appendix 3 of the Robbins Report, which shows that at present some 12 per cent, of the general output of graduates already return to teaching. And 48 per cent, in the humanities already return to teaching. This is a very clear warning of what we may run into if we move too fast. I believe that a breakdown would show that the Robbins recommendation would be that all graduates in certain fields would be required to go into teaching for the next five years or so. If this is so, it follows that there would be great difficulty in the national distribution of educated manpower.

What is our essential requirement for industry and for defence? Surely it is prudent at this stage to carry out a further analysis of how best to divide the limited manpower available between our three national requirements? Even if we put the educational system as the first priority, we surely cannot neglect the interests of industry, which must pay for the educational system, or of defence. Should we not consider the Robbins recommendations in this light? We cannot forget the school requirements, because it is inevitable that we are drawing and we shall draw to some extent from the schools to staff our further education facilities. This more than anything else should surely dictate the pace, because buildings alone will not suffice. It is essential for us to have the teaching staff of the quality that will bring the success we have come to expect.

This brings me to consider the pool of ability. Here I differ from the hon. Member for Orpington, because I believe that such a thing exists, however regrettable we may consider it to be. It exists for reasons beyond our control to a certain extent. I have read with great care the arguments advanced in the Robbins Report. In my view, sufficient emphasis has not been placed on the point that a pool of ability can be gauged only by judging it on existing conditions or standards. That is generally accepted. Any estimate or judgment we make as to the future can only be guesswork, because the only factual judgment we can make results from the present standard and the present conditions. Professor Jones, of the University of Aberdeen, recognises that the number of students is a much more tangible factor than the quality of the students. If the standard is altered or lowered at any level, the percentage pool created will automatically be altered. I do not believe that sufficient attention has been paid to this point, because our educational system at present subscribes to present standards and conditions. Yet we are looking into the future, but not taking the logical step of deciding what standards or conditions, if any, we will change immediately and thus create additional numbers.

I have not taken into account the social aspects, to which hon. Members have referred. I refer to the aspects which alter the emphasis or the percentage of the pool of ability which is accounted for by the reaction of the pupil to further education, the reaction of the parents, or the child's reaction to the social conditions in which he lives. We all hope these will move towards encouraging the numbers prepared to go through to higher education, but there is no evidence that this acceleration is very marked at university level.

I believe that on the present standards and conditions of our education system 11 per cent, to 16 per cent, are able to qualify for entry to a university. I am not satisfied with the arguments put forward in the Robbins Report that this percentage will increase immediately at a very noticeable pace. I say this because one of the two persons who has done most research on this is a distinguished Director of Education in Scotland, where the bar to the entry of a student with ability has been very considerably less for the past few centuries than it has been in England, and the increase in the pool of ability where the facilities have been offered has not been as great as many people had expected. This trend has been considered consistently since approximately 1930.

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

It is undeniable that there are some children who would never be capable of benefiting from a university education. I said that only 3 per cent, of the children of manual workers were benefiting from higher education at the moment. The comparable figures for the children of higher professional classes is 45 per cent. Either one accepts that there is some innate difference of ability, or by improvements in schooling and environmental background we should bring the children of manual workers up to the same percentage as that for the children of higher professional classes.

Photo of Miss Betty Harvie Anderson Miss Betty Harvie Anderson , Renfrewshire East

I am in entire agreement with the hon. Member that it is desirable to bring up that percentage. The social conditions which I mentioned a few moments ago obviously have a great bearing on this. However, it does not alter my point that in the system which it is very much easier for the very persons of whom the hon. Gentleman speaks to go on to higher education the proportion so doing is less than one would have hoped. I am not saying that it is a good thing. I am merely pointing out that such research as has been done shows that it is less than one would have hoped. For three centuries there has been a wider range of opportunity in Scotland than there has been in England.

If this argument were to be pursued it would be found that the pace must not be in excess of the numbers who would benefit from the full stretch of education. I suggest that we estimate the number to be catered for by higher education having accepted that we want the maximum possible graduate success and the minimum possible failure rate. This would probably be readily accepted. The Leader of the Opposition made great play with the restrictions on entry. However, he did not make the point which is brought out in Table 18 of the Robbins Report, that our success rate in graduates is relatively higher than that in any other country. Perhaps I should omit the United States here, because it is extremely difficult to get a comparable figure, for two reasons. First, except in a few instances degree courses in the United States are not comparable with our own. Secondly, although the percentage of those receiving higher education is much higher, the resulting diploma or degree is a lower qualification than its equivalent here.

I was very impressed by a visit I made a month ago to an American university where there were 19,000 students and where there was a failure rate of 50 per cent. I do not believe that this country wants such a failure rate. The U.K. rate now is approximately 14 per cent. In time it may be possible to advance an argument to the effect that one year at a university is better than none, but, in view of the difficulties to which I have referred, I do not believe that at this stage we are prepared to face that. The pace which we must consider for the very near future to achieve the progress set out in the Robbins Report is a pace which must bring a realistic return for investment. This will not be done either by starving the rest of the nation, including our schools, of very scarce educated manpower, or by seeking to include in our university system at present those whose ability and attainment on present standards would fail to meet the degree requirement.

7.50 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Ginsburg Mr David Ginsburg , Dewsbury

The hon. Lady the Member for Renfrew, East (Miss Harvie Anderson) spoke of the allocation of scarce resources, particularly in relation to teaching manpower. I am sure she will agree that this important point applies not only to the items she selected for discussion but also to the whole problem of our scientific policy; and I intend later to refer to this subject.

I intend to concentrate my remarks on two main points; firstly, the rather more controversial section of science and its bearing on the policy of the Government in the context of the modernisation programme and, secondly—on something less controversial—some conditions which must be satisfied if we are to have a successful and effective scientific policy.

Last Thursday we debated the general economic strategy of the Government. Three spheres came in for critical examination; the Government's policy on our balance of payments, their policy towards regional development and their new policy for public investment. It is important to realise that science is not divorced from any of these three objects. It has a direct bearing on them and should be viewed when considering any facet of Government policy.

Listening to Ministers last week I felt that there was a definite tendency on their part to under-estimate the seriousness of our balance of payments position. There was a tendency not to realise that as the boom got under way the importation of stocks would grow. There was also a tendency for them not to realise the extent of the cost of servicing our overseas debts, which have risen from about £50 million to about £750 million a year now. Thus if we do not keep the balance of payments position in the forefront of our thoughts we will run into serious trouble.

This has a direct bearing on our policy towards science and this must be crystal clear from what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said earlier today. He spoke of the vital need for savings in imports, the need for research programmes and scientific endeavours designed to ensure over a long period that we do not have to live indefinitely with the stock boom and the need for us to reduce our dramatically heavy import bill.

Let us consider the export problem and look at it through scientific spectacles. We noticed last week a certain complacency on the part of Ministers. The President of the Board Trade spoke of the export drive rather exclusively in terms of large units of production. He gave the impression that the export drive should be viewed in terms of selling large numbers of finished British-made articles to foreign export markets. Consider the problem of the motor car industry. If the Government back that ploy—of increasing our exports too far—I suspect that we will again have serious trouble in the future because overseas countries will in time make the goods which we are exporting to them now.

When one speaks in terms of greater exports one is really in the long run speaking about our exporting components, particularly highly sophisticated ones; generally exporting "know-how" and not always finished, mass-produced goods. It is important, therefore, for Ministers to realise that scientific policy has an important bearing on our export strategy. I hope that in the months ahead we will see this need recognised.

Now the main new feature of Government economic thinking is, we are given to understand, regional economic development. If this policy is to mean anything it must involve surveying the industrial structure of a region, determining whether there are too many old industries and, if so, whether new industries must be established, particularly industries of a high scientific content. In his speech on Thursday the President of the Board of Trade mentioned studies that were in hand, but the whole thing sounded very haphazard. They appear not to be systematic studies and the teeth to reinforce them seemed lacking.

I now wish to put a local point to the Government. What, for example, is being done when regional development is spoken about for the West Riding of Yorkshire? The President of the Board of Trade said nothing about this, and although the Economic Secretary had a few words to say on the subject we have had no indication that the Government really intend doing something for this part of the country. As is known, the West Riding of Yorkshire has some of the best, though oldest and stationary, industries in its area. There are declining opportunities for employment and one need mention only the N.E.D.C. Report, in which it was estimated that the decline in the next four years in the manpower of the wool textile industry will be about 10 per cent, in all.

The wool textile industry has a good record of scientific research. It is particularly true that, compared with the United States, the British industry has a good showing, but the possibilities in this changing society for building scientifically based industries around what exists in places like the West Riding of Yorkshire in the wool textile industry seems extremely remote. What plans do the Government have of a specific nature for this area, particularly from the point of view of introducing new scientifically based industries?

The general policy of the Government aims at lifting the economy from the depression it was in last year to a new level of activity by a marked increase in public investment. That is the key of their general policy. The Prime Minister asked the Opposition last week what we would cut if we did not like the Government programme. Strictly speaking, the question should be thrown back at the Government. When the economy begins to get into difficulties and when pressures develop, along with threatened cuts, may we have an assurance from the Government that their public investment programme will not be cut?

If the Government proceed, because of their difficulties, to chop and cut their public investment programme—as they have done in the past—more harm will be done because many plans and programmes of a scientific character are under way and these plans will yield dividends to Britain only if they are seen through to fruition. But if they are to be at the mercy of the Treasury axe in two or three years, then this public investment programme, valuable though it sounds at the moment, could be a very unfortunate thing indeed.

I come now to the Government's programme for science. In what one hears sometimes from Ministers, there is an assumption that, if they mend their ways, if they modernise enough, if they spend enough on science, all will be well. It is most important to remember that science is not a talisman the magic effect of which can be turned on and off. I wish to examine some of the essential conditions for a successful scientific policy. I put three considerations to the House.

First, the outlay on scientific research and development should not be wasted but should be rationally applied; in other words, there should be a rational calculus in the application of science. Second, we should have patience, realising that the pay-off in scientific research and development is extremely long term and may not be seen for many years. Conversely, of course, the follies of today and the failures of the Government to do the right thing may not be noticed by us in the House for some years but will be felt by future generations. The third consideration I put is that a substantial scientific superstructure such as we are, quite clearly, creating in this country can be singularly ineffective and uneconomic unless we have a scientifically educated society.

First, as to the deployment of scientific resources, we must bear in mind always that there is the danger of a reaction setting in. As those who have read a recent article in the Financial Times will have noted, in the United States a reaction is already setting in against heavy expenditure on research and development. There is this reaction because no apparent immediate result is forthcoming. I concede that this is a difficult problem. On the one hand, financial criteria for the choice of research projects are necessary, and the necessary studies to establish the criteria must be put in train. On the other hand—those with experience of the subject will confirm this—it is possible in science to press financial disciplines too hard and too far. Science is not just another investment in plant and machinery; it is much more sophisticated than that.

It is very easy for a reaction to set in against what is regarded as over-lavish expenditure. Of course, it is possible to make mistakes. Mistakes have recently been made in this country. Only today, the Prime Minister was asked about the nuclear power generating programme. This programme was launched on an over-ambitious and uneconomic basis, and it is clear that the Government have not yet made up their minds what the future of the programme is to be.

I want the Minister who is to reply to the debate to tell us whether the Government are satisfied that, within the Ministerial and Civil Service machine, adequate studies are being made of the deployment of scientific resources and of the profitability, to call it that, of the sort of scientific investments which we undertake. One of the reasons why we on this side of the House have often criticised the present structure of the Ministry for Science as being too weak and meagre numerically is that the Ministry as at present geared cannot physically undertake this extremely important work. The proper deployment of science is a very sophisticated business indeed. It involves more than just the scientist. It involves the accountant and the salesman. If we have a society in which these three, and others, do not understand one another and do not all speak the same language, there is the great danger that our scientific effort can be weakened and misdirected, with ensuing waste of resources and effort.

The second consideration I put concerning a successful scientific policy referred to the time-lag, the fact that the fruits of scientific research take far longer to mature than is generally realised. We are today paying the price for post-war, and even pre-war, neglect in science, and, what is more, any failure of foresight by Governments today will be felt and paid for not by us but by those who come after.

In this connection, I mention what, in my view, is an extremely important article which recently appeared in the National Institute's Economic Review, giving a comparison between the plastics industry in this country and in Germany. The article tells us that German production of plastics per head is over half as great again as production in this country and greater even than in the United States. The question is posed: why is the German plastics industry today, after a devastating war and the long years of recovery, so much in the lead over this country's plastics industry? Not because of the costs of raw materials. Not because of any advantage that Germany has in the costs of labour. Not because of plant costs. Quite simply, the reason is technical progress in Germany, technical progress in terms of research expenditure, in terms of the number of patents taken out in the German plastics industry, and in terms of the number of commercial innovations introduced.

The really shattering and important fact to realise is that this advantage which the German plastics industry has gained over ours and even over that of the United States dates from a period even before the last war. In other words, it is due in part to the fact that I. G. Farben spent more on research and development 20, 30 or 40 years ago than did any comparable firm in either Britain or America. It is for this reason that the German plastics industry leads ours today and has been able, despite war-time dislocations, to overhaul us once again.

Photo of Mr Arthur Holt Mr Arthur Holt , Bolton West

The hon. Gentleman may be right in that reason for the development of the German plastics industry, but is it not possible also that it may have been due to economic pressures before the war, when raw materials were not available to Germany under Hitler, which gave a great stimulus to all developments in synthetics?

Photo of Mr David Ginsburg Mr David Ginsburg , Dewsbury

I did concede that there are other factors; but Germany did not have any advantage pre-war except in this field of scientific research, something which goes back not just to the 'thirties or to the 'twenties but even to the previous century.

It is important to remember that a technical lead in the scientific field and other fields like it is worth 10 to 15 years to a country. It is true that countries with their own research traditions like our own can catch up on some- one else's commercial innovations; but it is also important to remember that in the plastics industry Germany and the United States can catch up on someone else's innovations in, it is estimated, two or three years, whereas at the moment we can only catch up in five to seven years. I therefore think it right to say that scientific outlay must be seen as a long-term process and that we should all realise that the dividends will not be seen for very many years.

The third condition for a successful scientific policy is to create a climate where the fruits of scientific research are fully used. I think that it is worth referring again to the article on the plastics industry which I have mentioned. Comparing this country with Germany, it is pointed out that the high consumption of plastics which Germany enjoys against us is not due to the modern industries. The modern industries in this country are equally versatile in their use of synthetic raw materials. The advantage which the Germans enjoy is that the more traditional industries, the older industries, are using these modern materials. In other words, their older industries have become more scientifically orientated and more sophisticated. Particularly it is true in Germany that the building industry is far ahead of ours in its use of plastics.

It is worth pointing out, too, that from a study of the technical literature it can be seen that British and French scientists more than hold their own in the history of academic research into plastics. It is in the application of scientific research into plastics that Germany scores; or, to put it another way, too small an effort in this country was directed to the commercial development of promising fundamental work. This suggests that social barriers between the academic world and industry are still far too great in this country.

That brings me to my concluding point. In this country we need not only more scientists but more technicians, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said, and more technologists. We need a more scientifically orientated society. Quite recently the Westminster Bank Review wrote of the need for the oily overall to carry as much prestige as the laboratory coat. In recent months there has been an inevitable reaction in this country against the power of the classical scholar, but we must be careful that we do not substitute for the power and influence of a classical elite a new tyrannjr—the tyranny of a scientific elite in the Royal Society. If the scientific revolution is to mean anything and to be effective, it can be only as part of a genuine democratisation of our educational and social system in the fullest and widest sense of the word.

8.15 p.m.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Carlton

I always find it extremely difficult to talk about this subject. It is one upon which nobody, least of all I, ever finds it possible to be wholly candid. Also, as has been pointed out with special reference to our business today, it is a subject upon which nobody ever docs his homework. I have struggled hard, and I make a small bet that I have read as much—I will not say as intelligently—and spent as much time on all these White Papers and Blue Books as almost any other Member. But I am deeply conscious that I have by no means read them in such a way as I should have considered made me, in the days before I was a Member of this House, competent to talk on them.

I have a senile privilege on this occasion. I can remember my father talking about the Bill which became the great Balfour Act, and I can remember some of the consequences observable then. Of course, I can remember very directly and personally—and I do not want to be interrupted by the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede)—the passing of what came to be called sometimes the great Butler Act. For all that I have to say to the contrary, those two great Acts were the two greatest Measures which this House of Commons has ever passed, and have done most good. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to regard them with one's critical faculties completely asleep. One should learn on this occasion, I think, a little from what one may regard as having been defects or misfortunes on those occasions.

I will not go back to the Balfour Act, although I have some interesting things which I could say about that. Let us stick to the Education Act, 1944. Before 1944, secondary education always meant grammar school education. I do not think anyone in this country will doubt that. Of course, the purpose of the 1944 Act was this. My hon. Friend—I have forgotten whether the present Foreign Secretary was my "hon. Friend" or my "right hon. Friend" then—let us say that my right hon. Friend, being due for promotion, was removed to an office where he might be involved in the habitual process which has happened during the several wars which I have lived through. We begin by saying, "You must fight to serve your King and country, and, whatever else you do, you must never treat war as an act of policy."Towards the end of the war we begin to promise people all the fruits of policy that they have wanted if they will just see us through for another 18months. So the Education Bill was pulled out of its pigeonholes and became the Education Act which we now enjoy.

What I am asking the House to notice about that process is this. I am not criticising anyone, but many of the people for whom the work was done and whose children were to get the results of the work—and they and their children are getting them to this day—felt cheated because, as they thought, they had all been promised secondary education. The House agreed with me three minutes ago that at the time the promise was made everyone took it for granted that secondary education was grammar school education. Of course, they found that they did not all get it. On this occasion, when we are promising university education, if not to every child at least to every what is called "qualified" child, it is important that we should remember that story.

I have a word or two to say about qualification. I know that this is arrogant of me, but I think that I am right in saying this of everyone who has spoken today and Robbins. I know that it is very dangerous to criticise Robbins. It is bad enough to be rebuked by the editor of The Times, but to be rebuked by the ex-editor of the Economist, as he rebuked the editor of The Times the other day, for having suggested that there might be some criticism of Robbins is a challenge to arrogance. I know it is dangerous therefore to criticise Robbins.

"Qualification" is used as if the special examination or the outside examinations accepted in lieu of one's own had been intended by any university—I think I am right in saying that they never have—to be a warrant of admission. Such qualifications were never intended or used as anything else but something without which one could not approach the thing at all. They were never meant by themselves to provide a positive qualification.

There can be no one who owes more than I do to scholarships and to encouragement to go to the university and I hope, without boasting, that no one has tried harder than I have to assist other people along the same path. Yet in trying now to promise the maximum of university opportunity to the maximum number of children, we ought not to make the argument dishonest by misusing, as unconsciously almost all of us have done today, and as the Robbins Report itself does, the word "qualification". [Interruption.] I am sure that the conversation now going on between right hon. Members on the Opposition Front Bench is far more interesting than my speech. If they carry it on in such a lively manner, my jealousy makes it almost impossible for my saliva to run. I do not speak very often and right hon. Gentlemen opposite would do better to speak a little less for the moment, if they will.

What we are doing here is remarkable and it has not been remarked half enough today. We are making arrangements, as Balfour made arrangements for secondary education, at least for some secondary education—a thin end of wedge secondary education—to be public, and then the 1944 Act did much the same as we are now doing with secondary education. Now we are doing it with tertiary education. In both the first two cases there were a good many unexpected results.

We ought this time to try to ask what the results will be, or may be. One such question is this. What will the result be on Parliamentary Government and democracy and all that? It is a little difficult to know. Take what we are doing today. There has been nothing strikingly democratic about the process. We all know how these Reports are produced. The Government get to the point when half of them say, "We shall have to do something about this." The other half says, "By God, we cannot do anything at the moment. "They then say to each other, "Let us ask Mr. or Sir Somebody", or whoever is the top civil servant in the office most closely concerned. All top civil servants have in the second drawer of the left-hand side of their desk a list of useful people for putting on committees and commissions. They pull the drawer open and fling out the list. Then a commission or committee is appointed which consists half of leatherworkers and half of persons accustomed to worship by Diana of the Ephesians. After two and a quarter years, out comes a report saying, "If you would only issue sandals for everybody, with silver buckles, all would come right." That has happened on this occasion.

On this occasion, however, none of us has had time to read the Report. The only time I have ever agreed with the Leader of the Opposition, in our now fairly long acquaintance, was when he said that we ought to count this not a debate on the Robbins Report but have a straight debate on the Robbins Report some day. I think that we ought. Before that, we ought to have a qualificatory examination, in which the Leader of the Opposition and I might be joint chairmen, to find out who is fit to be considered for entry, especially as this Report, like all education reports, has altered the whole vocabulary and we should have, for instance, to ask ignorant back benchers whether they knew the difference between a "Sister" and an "Institute". It is not so easy as you think.

How are we going to do this operation? We are engaging for all this, and Robbins tells us of the immense cost. I think that it is right to do this—on the whole, on balance, and with qualifications, and all that; but Robbins is most right, I think, when he tells us that the public will not put up with this enormous mortgaging of its resources unless it can rely—I am not quoting exactly, but I think this is a fair paraphrase—rely upon the teachers being competent and having the highest professional standards, and upon the students equally feeling bound by their status to work as hard as they can and so on.

This is an enormous responsibility on the new Minister, whether he is going to be a single person or whether he is going to be, like the Kings of Sparta, two, or whether he is going to be, if I may say so without blasphemy, like the highest of all, some kind of trinity. How is he going to do this? I put this question very seriously. I do not know that I can expect an answer today, but I hope it will be answered some time. Hon. Members have all been so optimistic and enthusiastic today: but the question is, what sort of machinery and what sort of standards do they foresee by which the Minister or Ministers will be able to be sure that the teachers and the taught are deserving these enormous sacrifices by all the rest of us? And what methods and standards do Members of this House think are going to suffice to enable this House to judge whether the Minister is right or wrong?

We had a speech only this afternoon saying the only thing to do with secondary modern schools, though some are very good, is to abolish the lot. I have heard other people inside the House, I think, and outside the House certainly, people outside the House who are more or less of a Leftish persuasion, say that the only thing to do with secondary education is to abolish the grammar schools. Because they do not feel that the promises which they were given in 1944 are being fulfilled, they say abolish the lot, or else have nothing but comprehensive schools, which is one way of abolishing the lot, and so on. How do we know nobody is going to say that and that tertiary institutions should be abolished? Really, we ought to have some idea how, and I think that at some stage, perhaps not on this occasion, the Government ought to explain this to us.

This has been a remarkable debate. There has been only one Scotsman speaking, so far as I remember,and one Scotswoman, and she was the one I did not hear because I was unhappily having my slice of ham. The only one Scotsman speaking, I doubt will ever go back to Scotland again, if he reads Hansard tomorrow, because he said several memorable things, but easily the most memorable was that the only Scotsmen who had had the sense to make money out of science at all were the farmers. Whether he will go back to Scotland or not, I do not know.

The last hon. Member to address us, the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Ginsburg), who is not here, but I do not blame him, because he has probably gone for his slice of ham, said that science was not a talisman; it could not be turned on or off. Of course, one of the odd things about science is that, to some extent, it can. The glory of science—leaving out the very top scientists—is in being perhaps in a sense so organised and systematised, that scientists form an organisation to organise knowledge produced in organised institutions by persons organised to subserve one another's work. Therefore, we can to a very large extent turn it off and on—and on by paying more money. That is one of the frightening things about science. One cannot produce more good speeches, more unforgettable sonnets or more pictures like those of Botticelli, however much money one spends. But science can to a large extent be turned off and on.

The same speaker went on, with some inconsistency, I think, to say that we are now paying for post-war and even pre-war deficiencies. Of course, that is true. We are also enjoying incomes from post-war and pre-war activities. This brings to my mind Dr. Dalton. He has perhaps been dead long enough now for me to be able to describe him, without being accused of bad taste, as the silliest of Chancellors of the Exchequer. I remember him talking about having come in to inherit a poor bag of assets. I do not know what he would have done if he had been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer and come into the office before any of those assets were created. Presumably, he could have lived as long on dandelion roots as the rest of us, but I do not think he could have done much for our State economy.

I return for a moment to the question how we can know that university education is going to be university education. For the sake of argument, I admit, though not everybody does—many of the most competent witnessess do not—that the pool of schoolboys who are considering going to universities and are fit to gain considerably by doing so is very great. I think it is great. However, I believe that people are putting too much optimism into this, too many "veries". That is one of the reasons why I am worried about how this House and Parliamentary Ministers will see that this thing becomes a reality.

For the sake of argument I grant that even the most optimistic about the supply of schoolboy potentiality are right. I cannot do the same for optimism about the supply of first-class academics. If one is absolutely right about the schoolboy potentialities, it may well be that in 20 years 'time there will be a greatly increased number of first-rate academics. But 20 years is a long while. We are performing an operation which is enormously costly and which will never be completely performed unless without much dishonesty it can be represented as a success while we are performing it, and this operation has got to start paying for itself or looking as if it is soon going to pay for itself, long before the 20 years are up.

Where are all these first-rate academics to come from? I was surprised at the Robbins figures about dons at universities. I remember only roughly, but, I think, rightly, that their percentage for Cambridge is 67 or 68 with firsts or what are called good seconds. I think that that Committee must have been counting in as university teachers a good many people whom I should not have counted in—not unless the last 20 years have altered things very much. I can remember hardly any don at Cambridge—I can remember two or three rather special cases, some very able and special cases—who had not got a first class and, for that matter, a good first class. The whole of the Robbins Report presumes that a don has got what is called a decent second, especially if he has what a writer in The Times described as fire in his belly. I do not know how one tests that at 11-or 17-plus and my experience is that chaps with fire in their belly tend to have an awful lot of wind there, too.

It is not I who am assuming that under the new regime dons are likely to be, by the academic tests for what they are worth—and they are worth something in this connection if in no other—it is not my assumption, it is admitted in the Report, and in all the other reports I have seen, that the dons will not be of as high an academic class as before. And this is at a moment when they are more than ever wanted outside the universities.

Twelve per cent, of the annual harvest—if that is the word—of graduates during the next five years, and presumably this means the best of them, will be wanted for the universities. But what is to happen with the average adjusters, the solicitors, the sugar brokers and the rest? They, too, will want people whose intelligence, if not heightened or guaranteed, has at least indicated by university courses.

Even if we do not adopt the Robbins target but leave the aim as it stands, our minimum need is 75 physicists per annum—40 per cent, of all the physicists who get Ph.Ds. I am not necessarily assuming that because one has a Ph.D. one is a good physicist. But if we are to adopt all this stuff about giving status and granting degrees we have to treat degrees as indicating something. Forty per cent, of all the physicist Ph.Ds., even without Robbins, will be wanted for the universities: 60 per cent, after Robbins.

Incidentally, Robbins agrees with Zuckerman and me—although I do not think he knew about that—in being delighted that many physicists and other persons with higher degrees in various branches of science are making useful contributions and are, no doubt also exploiting their ability and education, in ways of life where their subjects are not directly relevant. I am glad of that, too.

But we must think of the fact that until recently 25 per cent, of such people went on to university staffs, 25 per cent, went to Government service, 25 per cent, to industry—I am glad that proportion is going up, however, because these people are going into industry not only to be physicists but, in the case of some, in order to stop being physicists—and 25 per cent, went abroad. Robbins will alter these proportions.

There is a good deal of fear among some very intelligent people on this issue. My old friend Sir George Thomson, formerly Master of my College, is one of the most distinguished physicists in England and perhaps the one who has done most to serve government. The other day he wrote clearly frightened that the way to make pos- sible the figure suggested by Robbins might be to recruit the extra men needed by taking them from university research. I am sure that that would be a very great mistake. There has been the suggestion that we should have what the Germans call "extraordinary professors". Mainly engaged elsewhere, they would put in a week in every month, or a day in every week, helping with teaching. Something might be done that way, but I do not know how much.

I am certain that it requires a great deal mere thinking than anyone has yet given. I am certain that however right Robbins may be, and Newsom and Trend and Zuckerman and all the rest, I am sure that the House is wrong in this sense, and perhaps our procedure makes it impossible, that I do not believe that any of us has very much of an idea how these questions are to be solved. We have begun at the other end. We have begun by putting more meaning on the use of the word "qualification" than it can honestly bear. Then we say that every such person is to have full and equal opportunity of the highest and best tertiary education, and it is all to be looked after by Government, and almost all on Government money. Now we do not know whether we want one Minister or three and, this is very important, we do not know how the Minister is to operate. Presumably, the Minister will not be sending inspectors to listen to lectures, nor will Ministers be shuffling over examination papers to see whether this year's were as good as last.

On this subject Robbins was rather naive, and, after all, Robbins himself was a professor. When dealing with questions in which the principal factors are imponderable, one must not condemn the other chap at the other side of the table if he does not give exact weights of everything. The use of examination results, as if thereby there can be produced a set of syllogisms to prove intellectual standards have gone up, or down, unless there has been an enormous change in a very short period, with more or less identical examiners, is a very dangerous thing to do.

How is the House to perform its duty and how are Ministers to perform theirs? How anyone is to find anywhere anything like enough first-rate aca- demics, I do not know. I have said in this and other Houses of Commons several times, but I do not apologise for saying it again, that a great deal more could be done to increase the number of scientists and improve the scientists and also improve the intelligence of persons who are not and do not want to be scientists, by the expenditure of a very few thousands of £s, or at least a very few hundreds of thousands of £s, on improving the teaching of mathematics. Zuckerman says in his Report, on a date of which I have forgotten, one or two years ago, that the supply of scientists is almost in balance, just about in balance, but required much more analysis by disciplines. He means that we have about the right number of scientists, but that too many of the scientists are botanists and not nearly enough electricians and so on. Again, more and better mathematics.

How are we to get this right? We will not get it right easily if we pretend that these questions are not serious: if so, we are setting out upon a fallacious enterprise which has been recommended if not by fraudulent at least by deceptive arguments, and I think it of the greatest important that the House, and particularly Ministers, should be conscious of the difficulties of what they are hoping to do.

8.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill

The speech to which we have just listened illustrates why the present Government, like our education, is in a parlous state. At the beginning of his remarks the hon. Member for Carlton (Sir K. Pickthorn) said that he had not given any study to this problem.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Carlton

No, no, no. On the contrary, I said that I was prepared to take a small bet that I had read as much of all these Reports, or spent as much time reading them, as most hon. Members, but that I was not prepared to say that I had read them as I ought to have. I doubt whether any hon. Member has.

Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill

I accept what the hon. Member says in correcting the impression which he certainly conveyed to me in the earlier part of his speech. The people to whom he has been addressing himself are not hon. Members on this side of the House but right hon. and hon. Members opposite, in the personnel of the Government. It is they who have become suddenly enthusiastic about the Robbins Report. The remark which the hon. Member made at an earlier stage—that it was a senile privilege for him to return to the Balfour Act—would have been more indicative of the position if he had just said that he had the senile privilege—full stop.

I want to address my remarks to the Government's policy, or lack of it, and their new-found enthusiasm for education. The Government can be charged with the failure, first, to end the disgrace of over-sized classes; secondly, to recruit the necessary qualified teachers for those classes; thirdly, to end the 11-plus examination, and, fourthly, to provide sufficient university places according to the recommendations of past Reports and other information supplied to them.

There was one matter in respect of which I agreed with the hon. Member for Carlton—and it was about the only point. He spoke rather scathingly of the number of Reports submitted to the Government in past years in respect of technical education and the rest. He forestalled some of the things that I had intended to say. I have with me no less than four Departmental reports presented by the Scottish Education Department's own section. One is the Apple-ton Report on the Shortage of Teachers in Mathematics and Science in Scotland, published in 1955, and another is the Knox Report on Measures to Improve the Supply of Teachers in Scotland, published in 1958. In all these Reports, in debates in this House, and in many Questions, attention has been directed to the vital need for the provision of more universities and university places for the training of teachers in the 1950s. We have tried to point out that every year insufficient national resources were being devoted to education.

Last week, and again only yesterday, Ministers were pointing to the fact that the percentage of the gross national product devoted to education had increased from 3£ per cent, to 4 per cent., and that it was likely to increase still further. Although that may be correct, the expenditure on advertising and expense accounts is greater than that on education.

To indicate the problem with which the country is faced, I would point out that in Scotland no less than 7.4 per cent, of school classes are overcrowded. The education code for Scotland provides that there should be a maximum of 45 pupils in primary classes, 30 in senior secondary classes, and 40 in junior secondary classes. In Glasgow 12.6 per cent, of the classes are overcrowded. In Dunbartonshire they are over-sized to the extent of 12 per cent, and in Lanarkshire by 10 per cent. The Government have allowed this frightful position to continue without doing any of the things they could have done in the past 12 years in order to rectify it. Glasgow needs 1,200 teachers and since the mid-1950s the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Education Department and the Government have known about this—

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

Where is he usually?

Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill

They ought to have taken steps—

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

The Under-Secretary of State is present, but she is not the Secretary of State yet.

Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill

The Leader of the House ought to exhibit a little decorum in this matter. The hon. Lady the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is bored to tears already because she has heard all this so often. But despite reports and speeches, no action is taken. It is no use the Government coming, in a "death bed repentance" after 12 years of neglect of educational problems to try to convince the nation and hon. Members on this side of the House that they believe in the case which has been advanced, because very few of us will believe them.

This is the "bonus year", just before the election, and the idea is that hon. Members opposite can make any promises they like because if they were to win the General Election—it will not be won by hon. Members opposite—but if they were to win, they could revert to the former policy of cutting down. I will not bore the House with details which are contained in the four Reports which I have before me, except to say that by 1966 Scotland will be short of 5,000 teachers if the education quota is observed. Of course, all this means that buildings will have to be erected and extra expenditure undertaken. But the Government have refused to face the problem until today and, as the Robbins Report indicates, we are now faced with an immediate crisis in these schools.

As was said by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, the Government have neglected the problem created by lack of school buildings. At the beginning of this year the figures submitted by every local authority in respect of school buildings were cut. The hon. Lady the Under-Secretary of State knows this and. in a recent speech she tried to excuse the cuts which had been made.

In 1958, which was also a "bonus year", just before the last election, in a publication entitled "Education Scotland—the next step" which was part of the election propaganda it was stated: If every pupil is to be able to pursue to the limit of his capacity the education suited to his individual needs, the most urgent requirement amongst other things would be buildings and equipment that satisfy modern standards". Everybody would cheer that. These are sentiments which any normal parent or citizen would applaud. It was also stated Scotland has too many schools housed in nineteenth century buildings which remain much as they were when first erected. The hon. Lady the Under-Secretary of State for Scoltand knows that when the Scottish Committee debated Estimates in June and July, hon. Members spoke of the growing problem of buildings and it was indicated clearly that in 1958 about 50,000 places were provided. The next year that figure was down by 10,000 and has remained at about the same figure. Next year the number of places is likely to show an increase. But this is an old "dodge". It is the same as the business about the interest rate. In 1951 it was 3½per cent. Under the tutelage of the present Government it rose to 8 per cent, and then went down to 6 per cent. The Government say, "Look what good boys we are, we have reduced the interest rate from 8 per cent, to 6 per cent." They think that the people have been hoodwinked and have not noticed that the rate of interest has been doubled since the date on which the Government took office.

I shall not dwell on the building programme any longer, but turn to what was referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) and other hon. Members. None of us dissents from anything that is to be done for the provision of more places in universities for our young people. Their course is quite clear from primary school to senior secondary school and then to university and the professions. What some of us are more concerned about in the present state of Britain's development is the forgotten army of 65 per cent, or 70 per cent, of young people in junior secondary schools, who also are due for some consideration.

It is from these young people's ranks that we shall get the technicians, the engineers, the draughtsmen and skilled people in factories who will produce-more efficiently we hope, and with the aid of science—the material goods upon which this country depends for exports and its very life in future. It is to the great shame of the present Government that after 12 years, despite the Reports and speeches, they have only recently, when an election is imminent, come round to the view that these young people matter to the nation.

The background of many of these young people, their home, social and environmental background, is not helpful to success. The very fact that they have been allocated to junior secondary schools is a blow to their self-esteem. This fact is misinterpreted by the general public, by their relatives and parents as a mark of failure. This is to be deplored because there are different ways of being clever in this world. The girl who is a skilled nurse or matron in a hospital is as valuable to society as a physiotherapist. Incidentally, why have we not paid sufficient attention to the ability and aptitude of girls at school to follow many of the jobs which men do?

These young people will respond and achieve modest success if they are stimulated by the real things of life and the happenings in the world rather than by ideas and concepts. We should try to link junior secondary schools with local technical colleges so that the best products can go on to the Royal Technical College and university status. We want to see for a large precentage of these young people a highway marked out from the primary school to something akin, perhaps, to junior secondary school but certainly a school where their aptitude and abilty will be enhanced. Those whose aptitude lies rather in their hands than in their brains should be able to go on to further instruction.

I come to the Government's failure in the recruitment of teachers. The only success the present Government have had was when they united the teachers of Scotland in a mass demonstration against themselves in the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Then 5,000 or 6,000 took a day off from school to protest against the Government's actions. In Scotland we need more university graduates for male teachers. Despite that knowledge, the Government failed to make provision for the necessary increase in places. As far back as 1955, in debates in the House, the need for increased places at universities has been mentioned, but in 1962 the present Government cut back the amount for the universities, despite the desire of those institutions to provide for our young people.

In the House we have been met with complacency and evasion. For the last 18 months the Government have sought refuge in the need to await the Robbins Report. Now we have that Report. I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland will galvanise the present incumbent of the Scottish Office to take action about it.

The Robbins Report says that at least one university ought to be provided in Scotland, and probably two. We have been pleading for this for 18 months. May we not have at least a decision about that? Let the quarrels about teachers and other matters wait, but give us a decision about a university for Scotland. We recall the disappointment when seven new universities were provided in England Wales and none in Scotland. We have the ingenuity and the enthusiasm, and a site is already available at East Stirling. Surely it is possible for the Government to give a decision on this university for Scotland and to try to make up for their past errors.

9.2 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

May I begin by echoing the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee)? What we are debating is the pace of the advance. The need to expand our educational provision is generally agreed, and the issue is whether we are expanding sufficiently for us to hold our place in the world.

I am sure that the House wishes me to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Luton (Mr. Howie) on his maiden speech. Everyone enjoyed it, and it was made as though he had been in the House for years. One would not have thought that it was a maiden speech. It was a very useful contribution to the debate, and I am sure that all civil engineers are delighted that they have an articulate voice in the House. It is perhaps significant that on the last occasion on which I wound up a debate on education I congratulated my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr.Merlyn Rees) on his maiden speech, for it is significant that hon. Members who win by-elections feel that they should speak on education at the first opportunity in the House. It is an issue which divides the parties.

I am sorry that the Minister of Education is not taking part in the debate, particularly because, with my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon), I was due to debate the Robbins Committee's Report at London University, the issue being whether the Government were capable of implementing the Robbins Report. I have been informed by the President of the Union that, despite repeated efforts, he has been unable to extract any adequate opposition. He pointed out that he had been trying since May. I am sorry that it is impossible to debate the matter with the Minister of Education either within or without the House.

But I welcome the opportunity of speaking before the Leader of the House. He provides me with a peg upon which to hang my speech if not to hang him. May I first welcome him back to the Front Bench, where he ought to be as long as the Conservatives are in office. But he has had a cardinal personal responsibility in the three matters which we have mainly been discussing today—teachers, school buildings and universities. May I help him make his speech? Why in 1961 did he single out the nurses, the teachers and other groups of professional people least able to protect themselves, because of their social responsibilities, and treat them as he did? Why did we have the monumental folly of the Remuneration of Teachers Act last Session? If we have a desperate shortage of teachers, is this the way to treat teachers?

Let us put this in its context. The first speech I made from these benches as party spokesman on education was devoted entirely to the shortage of teachers, and it was in 1961. Lord Eccles replied and said that I had made an interesting speech but that it was too late to do anything and that nothing could be done. In 1962 we returned to the same issue. The right hon. Gentleman had had 12 months' warning, and he produced the scheme of auxiliary and short-terra training—and immediately the debate was over he forgot about it.

It was only after we had wasted all that time that the Minister of Education made his proposals to extend the training colleges, not only too late but too little, for everyone in the training colleges knows that £7 million is inadequate to expand the training colleges to 80,000 people. Moreover, he has not honoured his obligations. As I said last time, training college after training college have protested because they have not had schemes approved which they regarded as necessary to an expansion of the numbers. When we last debated the matter, the right hon. Gentleman said—as though this were an answer—that 30 or 40 schemes had been approved. There are 140 training colleges. His reply confirmed my complaint. The training colleges are beginning to consider their entry for next year, and again they do not know where they are because the right hon. Gentleman is delaying his approvals.

If we accept the Prime Minister's advice and put these matters into the context of General Election terminology, I invite the Leader of the House to reply to some questions. We are dealing with the responsibility of his Administration. Why had we this awful waste of opportunity in the 1950's? Why was no action taken then to provide more teachers? We have seen the bulge go through the primary schools, approach the secondary schools, go through the secondary schools and approach higher education. Why did the Government persistently regard this as a liability? Why did they not regard it as a great opportunity for a break-through in the supply of teachers? Why, as the years have gone by, have we seen thousands of young people have their applications turned down, not for want of qualification but for want of places at the training colleges?

What about school building? Ministers of Education have never been able to reply to these questions. Will the Leader of the House try to reply? We had an economic crisis in 1961 and he made a botch of things then. But why should we have a cut in school building this year and next year? Why should the Minister of Education tell us that we shall have an increased school building programme but not until 1965–67? Why cannot we have it now? Plans are ready; plans totalling £188 million were submitted by local authorities. Why cannot we have an expanded school building programme now? We know that when the right hon. Gentleman has his increased school building programme there will be 325,000 more children in the schools than there are now. Why not prepare for this?

Putting this into the context of a General Election, why are we to complete this year and next year a five-year school-building programme devised in 1958 when the Government did not envisage a second bulge moving into the schools? Why are we now planning to complete that programme £30 million or £40 million short of the original figure? It is nearly a year's work short of the original five-year programme. Surely this does not make an exorbitant demand upon the Government. Why have we a minor works programme which is still running substantially short of that attained by Lord Eccles?

This is not taking a partisan view of school-building. I hope that the Leader of the House has seen the representations made by the Campaign for Education to the Minister of Education. The Campaign for Education is not a political body. It is not subject to any political influences. It is a body representing all the interests and voices of education. It says that the Minister's programme in primary education is ludicrously inadequate. It says that in some cases the provision in the secondary schools is so inadequate that it wonders whether the children would not be better off not going to school at all. The Campaign for Education says that it is a farce for the Minister to talk about the ending of the all-age school in view of the provision in the secondary schools today.

We now have the Newsom Report, which the Chief Secretary would not have mentioned if he had not been interrupted in his peroration. The Labour Party regards the Newsom Report as just as important as the Robbing Report. The Newsom Report tells us that in the badly housed areas 75 percent, of the schools should be condemned as seriously inadequate. This does not make an exorbitant demand upon our building resources. Over recent years only 3£ per cent, of our total building resources has been devoted to school building. One could understand this, perhaps, if the righthon. Gentleman were planning irresponsibly because he will not have responsibility then. If he is planning two years ahead, why cannot the present programmes be increased?

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition referred to the survey of the National Union of Teachers. This revealed that one in seven of the primary schools is without any water sanitation at all. We have the Newson Report on the secondary schools. We must think of what this means in term; of education. It is encouraging to know that, in spite of the pessimists, literacy has improved over the past few years It is, however, frightening to learn that there is a difference of 17 months in the reading age on leaving secondary schools of children from the good and the worst areas. The difference in the reading age of children from the best and from the worst schools is as mud as five and a quarter years.

This is a fact which must be faced It will not do to say that we are devoting all the resources we can to school building. We are not. We must do far more, and we must do it now. We must not wait until the children are in the schools. We know the numbers. There will be 320,000 more in two years' time. We know the numbers moving in now. We must tackle the problem now, and we must revise our estimates of school-building now. We must give the local authorities, which the right hon. Gentleman stopped building, the go-ahead to tackle this problem.

I turn from teachers and school buildings to the universities. The Leader of the House again has a personal and outstanding responsibility for what has happened. It was his Government—he had a personal responsibility—who took the unprecedented step of rejecting the recommendations of the University Grants Committee. That unprecedented step was properly described by Hugh Gaitskell as "discreditable, dis honourable and deplorable". Now the right hon. Gentleman has his opportunity. Why were the recommendations of the University Grants Committee rejected by the Government 18 months ago? What effect has this had? How much more difficult has this made the attainment of the Government's present objectives? Has the right hon. Gentleman read what the Association of University Teachers has said, that … the tragedy of Robbins is that it is now too late to do much that could have been done but for the ill-judged Government cuts in university grants, against which we protested so strongly last year. Sir William Mansfield Cooper, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester, said: … it is now too late to cope and thousands of young people will be denied university education to which they looked forward and which they have been led to expect would be available. However, this is not the major charge against the Government. The major charge is that in all our previous debates on higher education the Home Secretary, the Chief Secretary and the Minister of Education have all said that the highest realistic practicable objective was to endeavour to maintain that the same percentage of the age group had the opportunity of a university education. That was clearly expressed—as one would expect, for he is lucid if nothing else—by the Minister of Education when he said: In my view, this represents the fastest practicable rate of university expansion, and no one conversant with our universities has ever suggested that they could be expanded at a faster rate. This is what the Home Secretary had to say: No one from the university side has ever suggested that the universities could be expanded significantly faster than this, and that is the answer to those who think that between now and 1967 we ought to be planning to expand these places for what is called the trend as well as the bulge."—[Official Report, 5th April, 1962; Vol. 657, c. 772 and 738.] That has been the Government's case. If we speak in terms of electoral terminology, it is interesting to know that it is revealed by Robbins that the percentage attending the universities, even as a percentage of the age group, has fallen since the significant year 1959. The percentage in training colleges, remarkably enough, has also fallen since 1959. Thus the Government have not even attained what they promised in that sense. They have not given the universities the tools with which to do the job

. Sir Douglas Logan, for example, called attention to the state of London University and spoke of vacant posts still unfilled, maintenance work postponed and newly created buildings often unused because of the lack of staff. Despite all this, these are the minor counts against the Government. The major one against them is that their programme for higher education—and this is the guts of teacher supply—has been absolutely unsatisfactory and completely inadequate. That is the crucial importance of the Robbins Report.

The Robbins Report condemns the Government out of hand and what that Report says is what the Taylor Working Party had also said. It is what Professor Blackett said in his Guildhall lecture. It is what my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) and my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) said—that we should seek to double the places of higher education in the next 10 years. The Robbins Report entirely rejects all that the Government have said and represents an utter condemnation of Government policy.

The fact that Robbins has been accepted by the Government overnight—without second thoughts and without examination—means that the Govern- ment have been convicted by Robbins because if they say they can do it now, they could have done it years ago. What the Government have said for years could not be done is now to be done overnight. We have lost the critical years.

I turn for a moment to the Report which has hardly been mentioned today but which I regard as critical for the future of education in this country, the Crowther Report. This is what the Crowther Committee said: … there is much to be done, and little enough time to do it. If the opportunities of the 1960s are not to be wasted, we would urge that a decision be taken now and that a consistent programme of action in all relevant fields be set on foot and pursued with the vigour necessary to ensure that by the chosen date, the conditions are prepared for the extra year in school to provide its full benefit for all the nation's children". Nothing has been done. Now, we have the Report of the Newsom Committee, and we know what its first recommendation was, that "an immediate announcement" should be made—it has not been made: it has hardly been referred to, and would not have been mentioned if the right hon. Gentleman had not been interrupted— that an immediate announcement should be made that the school-leaving age will be raised to 16 for all pupils entering the secondary schools from 1965 onwards". What the right hon. Gentleman will face when he has the courage to declare a General Election is the appalling waste during the past few years. Clearly, what Robbins says can and must be done now—the Government accept it—could have been done four years ago. If it had been done four years ago, how many additional teachers might we have had from our universities and training colleges? If one thinks also of the 800,000 and more small children in primary schools now in classes of over 40 and of the conditions in secondary schools revealed by the Newsom Report, one realises the measure of the Government's responsibility.

Worse than that—and this is the key to the debate we had on higher education in the summer—the Government complacently thought themselves safe because they knew the terms of reference of the Robbins Committee, restricted as they were to the long-term development of higher education. But so desperate was the position confronting the Robbins Committee that it burst through its term of reference and recommended, as w had recommended, only to be sneered at by the right hon. Gentleman, a crash programme.

The House should be reminded of the way in which the Robbins Committee made its recommendation outside tin terms of reference: We are confident that the universities can meet this deficiency if they are given a clear statement of the national need and if the: have adequate resources and adequate assurance that any sacrifices that they haw to make will be of limited duration. The proviso is all-important, for it must be recognised that the universities already have cause for lack of confidence in the Government's intentions. In the last few years the universities have wished to go forward more rapidly than they have been enabled to do. The man; representations made in recent years to ensure that their resources should match the rising demand have met with an inadequate response Neither capital nor recurrent grants have bee: sufficient. In the past, when they have had confidence that resources would be available the universities have given ample demonstration of their willingness to respond to calls upon them. That is a clear condemnation of the Government.

What does the right hon. Gentleman say about the pre-Robbins programme the "fastest practicable rate" that we could have for university expansion' What does the Home Secretary say now about taking into account not only the increase in numbers but the revolution in expectation, the numbers qualifying to merit and deserve a higher education? If we lived in times when there was more rigid accountability, we should have had the resignation of the Home Secretary, the Chief Secretary and tin Minister of Education. They certainly have a particular personal responsibility for the situation which my right hon Friend properly described as ten pas twelve.

But let us consider the opportunities that we have wasted. As long ago a 1955, between 2,000 and 2,500 qualified young people were unable to gain admission to universities. We have the figure of the A.U.T. for 1961 which show that in that year a quarter of the qualified applicants who sought entrance to the universities failed to get admission. In this way we lost very nearly 9,000 quali- tied people who should have had a university education. We know that last year there were 55,000 qualified applicants and only 27,000 places. We know that Sir Eric Ashby has estimated that soon there will be only one place for every two qualified applicants for university education.

We know the position in the training colleges. We have the clearing house figures for the training colleges and we know that thousands are failing to get into the training colleges although they have much higher entry qualifications than entrants in the past.

However, the measure of the Government's failure—this is the encouraging side—is the extent of our present opportunity. We know how the Government have failed over the past few years in providing places in higher education, but we must also think of the fact that in 1966 there will be almost 1 million more young people aged between 18 and 21 than there were in 1955. This is the bulge that we shall have to break through and provide in thousands the teachers we need for our schools.

My one quarrel with the Robbins Committee is that, advised by the Government, it was far too unambitious. We should think not only of providing opportunities for those who qualify but of increasing the numbers of those who qualify. We should think of the pools of untapped ability—the working class, girls, and enlarged families. As Robbins points out, a child in a family of five has only a quarter of the opportunities of a child in a smaller family. We must remember that those whose fathers had a full-time education to 18 have eight times the opportunity of a higher education than those whose fathers left school before 16.

These are things with which we should be dealing. We should be ensuring that these untapped resources are harnessed so that there is no further neglect not only of those qualified for a higher education but of those who might qualify if we could provide a better secondary education system.

The other unhappy thing is the really remarkable response that there has been to the approach made to the universities by the U.G.C. The universities and colleges are not responding in terms of Robbins. University college after university college is saying that it is prepared to admit in the forthcoming academic year 40 per cent, more than the present numbers. This is the real tragedy, because if the universities and training colleges had had this appeal four years ago we should have had the same response. This is desperately urgent, and I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to ensure that the universities are not disappointed.

The training colleges have been disappointed, but we cannot fail the universities. They must get the additional staff for which they have asked. They are prepared to do without additional buildings, but they must have the additional staff and be supplied with administrative help so that they can do more tutorial work. We have universities suggesting that they should go on to a two-shift system. We should see that they have the libraries and the librarians which they want and that the facilities are provided. We should see also that backing up this short-term crash programme are the beginnings of a long-term programme. This is what the universities demand and this is what they are entitled to expect.

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said that it was ten past twelve. We still just have time, if we work very hard, to save the position of higher education. This, however, is an issue of confidence, as I have shown from the Robbins Report. Those in higher education, in the universities and in the training colleges have lost confidence in the Government. What we want is a new Government and a new start. We want a Government that believes in youth, will see that youth gets a chance and will see that we have confidence in the future.

9.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Today has been a mixture of fairly direct party stuff and also of constructive thought. There have been some interesting speeches. I refer particularly to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude), the speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) and the entertaining speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlton (Sir K. Pickthorn). I want particularly, however, to refer to the maiden speech of the hon. Member for Luton (Mr. Howie). He spoke with humour and common-sense about the need for engineers and the status of engineers. I warmly congratulate him upon his speech, it was very easy to listen to, and I hope that he will speak again many times in the life of this Parliament.

As this is the final speech of the debate on the Address, I should like to refer to one other speech from the other side of the House, the speech of the hon. Member for Abertillery (Mr. LI. Williams) defending our police forces, who are so much under attack in more ways than one. I hope that every hon. Member will read the speech which the hon. Member made in defence of our police.

With regard to today's Amendment, we on this side of the House are only too pleased to debate education and science on the final day of the debate on the Address, because they are both subjects in which the record of the Government is outstanding. Never before has there been such an advance in education in a comparable period, nor, indeed, in any one Parliament. This is proved by the figures, whether expressed in terms of the total amount spent, the amount spent per head or the proportion of the gross national product. The figures completely vindicate the Government record.

In 1951, the total expenditure amounted to £414 million. Today it is £1,250 million, a rise of over £800 million in twelve years. Per head in 1951, we were spending £8; today, we are spending £24 per head. In 1951 we spent 3.1 per cent, of our gross national product on education, today we are spending almost 5 per cent., and future expenditure on education is planned to increase by 6 per cent, a year in real terms, which means an increasing share of the gross national product. These are not figures for which I apologise. They are figures which we proudly proclaim in every part of the country.

Nor do we accept that if the Opposition had been in power they would have done as well. When the Opposition left office in 1951, they were in a mood, not of expanding education services, but of contracting them, the reason being pressures on the economy.

In the last Labour Budget, the Exchequer provision made for educational services increased from £243 million to £251 million, an increase of £8 million, and before that Budget the Labour Government actually discussed whether or not to raise the school entry age or reduce the school leaving age. They did not do either of those things. They contented themselves with Id. on school meals and some other small economies which enabled them to hold down the increase to £8 million. This was not the first time. In 1949, again because of pressures on the economy, the Government stated there would have to be a slowing down of educational building, and in September, 1951, they said resources available do not permit any significant increase in expenditure on old schools. "Resources available" and "pressures on the economy". The hon. Gentleman the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) has just said that I had—[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite just will not listen to the other side of the case. It is symptomatic of their attitude, not to listen to opposition of any sort, whether to an individual, a corporation, whatever it may be; they will not let the other side of the case be put if they can possibly help it. If they should ever, alas, become the Government again that will be their attitude. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Sunderland, North said that I had a cardinal and personal responsibility. The suggestion was that I had unnecessarily and wantonly cut education. I, too, had to contend with pressures on the economy and with the problem of resources available; yet in 1961–62 the amount of public money actually spent on all forms of education increased by £141 million, from £943 million to £1,084 million. [Hon. Members: "Got the sack for it."] Whatever may have happened, I am back again now.

The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in his speech said that of course there was always the problem of limited means to meet unlimited demands; and that, in fact, is the problem of any Chancellor of the Exchequer at any time. It was the problem of the years to which I referred, and a problem which any Government will have in future—of limited means to meet unlimited demands. But one of the direct results of our success in education has been that whereas in1955 the annual number of people qualifying at degree level in science and technology was 10,000, by 1964 the number will be approaching 20,000.

I know that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite only take an interest in reports from international organisations when they are derogatory of Britain's position. Therefore, they will, no doubt, listen in gloomy silence to the fact that the most recent O.E.C.D. report referring to the amount spent on scientific research and technological development shows that the proportion of the gross national product spent in the United Kingdom is nearly as high as in the United States and higher than the proportion spent in other countries for which figures are available, including France, Holland and Japan.

So far as our record in science is concerned, I repeat without apology the Chief Secretary's figures which have already been given. Between 1955–56 and 1961–62 the amount spent was increased from £300 million to £634 million and the percentage for the defence Departments during that time went down from 59 to 39. The Government have increased tax allowances to encourage research. Expenditure by private industry has increased more than threefold in five years. These increases in expenditure have been accompanied by many outstanding scientific achievements. My right hon. Friend gave some examples today. I will repeat only one of them—the British scientists who won four Nobel Prizes in 1962 and two more announced just recently. When anyone puts forward facts and figures, he is, of course, accused of being complacent. I agree with much of what my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon said about the future and its problems. But my general point is that we should take credit for past achievements and developments.

The Leader of the Opposition seemed to resent the suggestion that he had very recently become interested in science. He was up like a flash to say that he read a paper to the British Association when the Minister of Education was at school. What a long time he allowed to elapse before he read his second paper at Scarborough! I am surprised at the right hon. Gentleman's unwillingness to admit the suddenness of his conversion, this new-found interest of his party in science. I have read carefully the Labour Party manifesto for the 1959 General Election. There is not one word about science or technology in it from beginning to end.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman given equal study to the very lengthy and constructive statement issued by the Labour Party on science in September, 1959?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I should have thought that if this subject deserved the attention that has been suggested, it might have merited one word in the Labour Party manifesto. The burning indigation of the Opposition about the Government's neglect of science has been shown by their attendance during this debate.

The argument put forward today that we should do more than we propose to do for both education and science go ill with the general criticism that we are trying to do too much. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said the other day that promises are flying about like confetti. He described our programme as the biggest spending spree ever by any Government in peace time. For the Opposition to rebuke us for overspending is like Messalina lecturing on morality or Micawber on thrift. This criticism is associated with the allegation that in 1959 the Government did too much to reflate, that we created a boom thereby. This really is cool cheek coming from the Opposition, considering that in 1959 they outbid us in every sphere of Government spending.

Are they still outbidding us today? Have they changed their tactics? Are they playing the game of condemning us at Westminster for spending so much in total while condemning us in the constituencies for not meeting every individual demand for more spending? The hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) talked about attractive and extravagant promises but at the same time complained that next year Fife was to have only one new school. The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) talked about the "electioneering" Queen's Speech but said there was nothing in it for those in receipt of social benefits.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

The Opposition cannot have it both ways. Do they intend to spend more or less? Where will they cut? Where will they add to their programme and how much will our plans cost? Not only have these questions not been answered but the Opposition could hardly have been less forthcoming about how they are to pay for their own spending spree and for the very large programme they would have to carry through if they were to fulfil their promises.

Of course, the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East had a suggestion to make. After 12 years out of office, after all these opportunities for study and reflection, after all the hard work at Hampstead and Oxford in company with left-wing economists, all he could suggest was that if and where Labour was returned, it would have an inquiry on taxation. How revolutionary!

Some people, who have not the same opinion of the hon. Gentleman as I have, might make a more sinister interpretation and believe that, behind his bland smile and pleasant exterior, there is some more definite plan in mind for changes in taxation far too unpleasant to disclose before an election campaign. He was really very coy indeed about his wealth tax.

The hon. Gentleman raised the rate of growth argument. He prophesied that. in six months' time, we should be in trouble and that our progress could not be sustained by the growth likely to take place under our management. That was the serious case put forwrad by several hon. Members opposite. The hon. Gentleman argued his case by quoting, in the first place, from a report of O.E.C.D. providing estimates as to our anticipated increase in productivity during the period 1960–70.

The rate of increase given in that report was 2.8 per cent, per annum, and in quoting the figure he said that he presumed that it had been provided by the Treasury. Not for the first time, his presumption was ill-founded. The figure was not provided by the Treasury nor was it a forecast. It was part of a model constructed by the staff of the O.E.C.D. allocating rates of growth between member countries adequate to achieve the given overall target.

The hon. Gentleman went on to refer to the 1962 White Paper on Incomes Policy and purported to quote from it, saying that it stated that we were to proceed on the basis that the increase in productivity would be from 2 to 2½ per cent, per annum. He said that this was inconsistent with our present position. But the two relevant sentences in the White Paper were: In recent years national production per head [i.e. productivity] has risen by about 2 to 2½ per cent, a year. We ought to be able to do better than this but on present trends it seems likely to increase at about this rate in 1962. In other words, the relevant reference in the White Paper was limited to 1962. The hon. Gentleman ended by asking whether the White Paper was a confidence trick on the trade unions then or on the people now. In fact, it was a confidence trick by him based on the hope that his quotations would not be verified. He was on a completely false point. We have based our views upon figures independently arrived at by N.E.D.C. and I believe that this increase in productivity is within our power.

Of course, the margin between continual repetitive crises and economic solvency is a narrow one. [Interruption.] The Opposition have started to jeer a little too soon, because that was a quotation from the speech of the Leader of the Opposition at Scarborough on 1st October, the day he discovered science. He also then made the remarkable discovery that no one owed us a living. The right hon. Gentleman is clearly beginning to learn.

However that may be, the grounds for our confidence are the fact that the upward surge of the economy at present is built on a firm foundation. I quote from another international publication, the latest Economic Bulletin of the Economic Commision for Europe, 22nd October, 1963, which, referring to wages and prices in Western Europe, says: As may be seen from Table 48 industrial earnings are still rising faster than productivity, so that wage costs per unit on output have continued to rise. The United Kingdom is an exception in that earnings in industry there are rising pari passu with productivity so that wage costs per unit have remained constant". Those are not my views, but the views of impartial observers elsewhere. This position is the result of the policies pursued by the Government. It is a measure of the extent to which our incomes policy has been a success. In this, with some honourable exceptions—the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Gunter) is in his place—we have had precious little help from the Opposition in this regard.

But this is the key to our future progress. There is no doubt in my mind that, providing the costs of production can be reasonably contained, we will attain the increased productivity required to fulfil all of our plans for the social and economic advance of Britain. Subject to that proviso, increased capital investment combined with increased expenditure on civil research by industry and Government, improvement in training for industry, better education, will combine to enable us to go forward with confidence.

The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition had the audacity to refer to our record as being one of 12 wasted years. I take him up on that. Have the years been wasted in which real income per head has risen by 40 per cent, more than in the first 50 years of this century; in which expenditure on the social services has been doubled; in which more than 3 million new school places have been provided; in which one-third of the children now at school occupy those places? I do not think that their parents will regard these as wasted years.

Have the years been wasted in which nearly three and a half million new houses have been built? Have the years been wasted in which 500,000 families have come from the slums to decent homes? Dealing with secondary education, have the years been wasted when from 1954 to 1961, 1,808 new secondary schools have been built in England and Wales, most of them secondary modern schools? Have the years been wasted in which the number of owner-occupiers in their own homes has increased by 2 million; in which National Insurance pensions have gone up by 125 per cent.? [Interruption.] I know that hon. Members opposite do not like to hear this, but they are going to hear a great deal more of it. Have the years been wasted in which industrial earnings have been nearly doubled and the great mass of our people become better off than they have ever been before?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

Never had it so good.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Finally, have the 12 years been wasted in which the confidence of the individual in the future of the country—[Hon. Members: "Luton."]—has been proved beyond contradiction by the fact that personal savings, which were £100 million a year under their rule, have now risen to £1,700 million a year? That is perhaps the most striking figure of all.

There is a fundamental gap between the two sides of the House. I rejoice in that difference. We on this side

believe in the concept of development planned by consent, of disciplines willingly accepted, of investment buttressed by savings voluntarily given, of co-operation, of a free country looking confidently into the future, with pride in the past. The Opposition—[Hon. Members: "Ah."] They may well say "Ah." That is exactly the right expression. The Opposition want a society confined within a rigid State plan, enforced by a straitjacket of physical controls and the full rigour of the law.

Because the British people prefer freedom to direction we shall not only win tonight but in the years ahead.

Question put, That those words be there added:—

The House divided: Ayes 246, Noes 335.

Division No. 2.]AYES[9.58 p.m.
Abse, LeoDiamond. JohnHughes, Heotor (Aberdeen, N.)
Ainsley. WilliamDodds, NormanHunter, A. E.
Albu. AustenDonnelly, DesmondHynd, H. (Accrington)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Driberg. TomHynd, John (Attercliffe)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley)Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Awbery, Stan (Bristot, Central)Ede, Rt. Hon. c.Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Bacon, Miss AliceEdelman, MauriceJanner, Sir Barnett
Baird, JohnEdwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Barnett, GuyEdwards, Robert (Bliston)Jeger, George
Baxter William (Stirlingshire, W.)Edwards, Walter (Stepney)Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)
Beaney, AdanEvans, AlbertJohnson, carol (Lewisham, g.)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Fernyhough, E.Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield)
Bence, CyrilFinch, HaroldJones, Dan (Burnley)
Benn, Anthony WedgwoodFitch, AlanJones, Elwyn (West Ham, s.)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Fletcher, EricJones, J. Idwal. (Wrexham)
Benson, Sir GeorgeFoley, MauriceJones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Blackburn, F.Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)Kelley, Richard
Blyton, WilliamForman, J. C.Kenyon, Clifford
Boardman, HFraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Bottomley. Rt. Hon. A. G.Galpern, Sir MyerKing, Dr. Horace
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Lelos, S.W.)George,Lady MeganLloyd(Crmrthn)Lawson, George
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)Ginsburg, DavidLedger, Ron
Bowles, FrankGordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Boyden, JamesGourlay, HarryLee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Braddock. Mrs. E. M.Greenwood, AnthonyLever, Harold (Cheetham)
Bradley, TomGrey, CharlesLever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Bray, Dr. JeremyGriffiths, David (Rother Valley)Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)
Brockway. A. FennerGriffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)Lipton, Marcus
Broughton, Dr. A. D. DGriffiths. W. (Exchange)Loughlin, Charles
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.Lubbock, Eric
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Gunter, RayMabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Hamilton, William (West Fife)McBride, N.
Callaghan, JamesHannan, WilliamMcCann, John
Carmichael, NeilHarper, JosephMacColl, James
Castle, Mrs. BarbaraHart. Mrs. JudithMacDermot, Niall
Cliffe, MichaelHayman, F. H.Molnnes, James
Collick, PercyHealey, DenisMoKay, John (Wallsend)
Corbet, Mrs. FredaHenderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)Maokie, John (Enfield, East)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Hewitson. Capt. MMcLeavey, Frank
Cronin, JohnHill, J. (Midlothlan)MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)
Crosland, AnthonyHilton, A. V.MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Crossman, R. H. S.Holt, ArthurMahon, Simon
Cullen, Mrs. AliceHooson, H. E.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Dalyell, TamHoughton, DouglasMallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Darling, GeorgeHowell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)Manuel, Archie
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Howell, Denis (Small Heath)Mapp, Charles
Davies, Harold (Leek)Howie, W. (Luton)Marsh, Richard
Davies. Ifor (Gower)Hoy, James H.Mason, Roy
Deer GeorgeHughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Mayhew, Christopher
Dempsey, JamesHughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)Mendelson, J. J.
Millan, BruceRees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Milne, EdwardReid, WilliamThomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Mitchison, G. R.Reynolds, G. W.Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Moody, A. S.Rhodes, H.Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Morris, JohnRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Thornton, Ernest
Moyle, ArthurRoberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)Thorpe, Jeremy
Mulley, FrederickRobertson, John (Paisley)Timmons, John
Neal, HaroldRobinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras,N.)Tomney, Frank
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)Wade, Donald
Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Phitip(Dertby,S.)Ross, WilliamWaipwright, Edwin
Oliver, G. H.Royte, Charles (Salford, West)Warbey, William
O'Malley, B, K.Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.Watkins, Tudor
Oram, A. E.Silkin, JohnWeitzman, David
Oswald, ThomasSilverman, Julius (Aston)Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Owen, WillSilverman, Sydney (Nelson)White, Mrs. Eirene
Paget, R, T.Skeffington, ArthurWhitlock, William
Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)Wigg, George
Pargiter, G. A.Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)Wilkins, W. A.
Parker, JohnSmall, WilliamWilley, Frederick
Parkin, B. T.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Paton, JohnSnow, JulianWilliams, LI. (Abertillery)
Pavitt, LaurenceSorensen, R. W.Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir FrankWillis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Peart, FrederickSpriggs, LeslieWilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Pentland, NormanSteele, ThomasWinterbottom, R. E.
Popplewell, ErnestStonehouse, JohnWoodburn, Rt. Hon, A.
Prentice, R. E.Stones, WilliamWoof, Robert
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)Wyaft, Woodrow
Probert, ArthurStross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent,C.)Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Proctor, W. T.Swain, ThomasZilliacus, K.
Puxsey, Cmdr. HarrySwingler, Stephen
Randall, HarrySymcnds, J. B.TELLERS FOR THE AYES;
Rankin, JohnTaverne D.Mr. Short and Mr. Redhead.
NOES
Agnew, Sir PeterCary, Sir RobertFoster, John
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)Channon, H. P. G.Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(Stafford&Stone )
Allason, JamesClark, Henry (Antrim, N.)Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Amery, Rt. Hon. JuHanClark, William (Nottingham, S.)Freeth, Denzil
Arbuthnot, JohnCleaver, LeonardGalbraith. Hon. T. G. D,
Ashton, Sir HubertCole, NormanGammans, Lady
Atkins, HumphreyCooke, RobertGardner, Edward
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)Cooper, A. E.George, Sir John (Pollok)
Balniel, LordCooper-Key, Sir NeillGibson-Watt, David
Barber, Rt. Hon. AnthonyCordeaux, Lt.-Col. J, K.Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)
Barlow, Sir JohnCortle, JohnGilmour, Sir John (East Fife)
Barter, JohnCorfield, F. V.Glover, Sir Douglas
Batstord, BrianCostain, A. P.Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapharn)
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonCoulson, MichaelGlyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Bell, RonaldCourtney, Cdr. ArrthonyGodber, Rt. Hon. J. B.
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)Goodhart, Philip
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos &Fhm )Crawley, AidanGoodhew, Victor
Berkeley, HumphryCritohley, JulianGough, Frederick
Bevins, Rt. Hon. ReginaldCrosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir OliverGower, Raymond
Bidgood, John C.Crowder, F. P.Grant-Ferris, R.
Biffen, JohnCunningham, Sir KnoxGreen, Alan
Biggs-Davison, JohnCurran, CharlesGresham Cooke, R.
Bingham, R. M.Currie, G. B. H.Grosvenor, Lord Robert
Birch, Rt. Hon. NigelDalkeith, Earl ofGurden, Harold
Bishop, F. P.Dance, JamesHall, John (Wycombe)
Black, Sir Cyrild'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryHamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Bossom, Hon. CliveDeedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)
Bourne-Arton, A.Digby, Simon WingfieldHarris, Reader (Heston)
Box, DonaldDonaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. JohnDoughty, CharlesHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir EdwardDouglas-Home, Rt. Hon. Sir AlecHarvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)
Braine, BernardDrayson, G. B.Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Brewis, JohnDuncan, Sir JamesHarvle Anderson, Miss
Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Coi.Sir WalterDuthie, Sir William (Banff)Hastings, Stephen
Brooke, Rt. Hon. HenryEden, Sir JohnHay, John
Brooman-White, R.Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carghaiton)Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Brown, Alan (Tottenham)Ellott.R.W.(Newc'Ke-upon-Tyne.N.)Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward
Browne, Percy (Torrington)Emery, PeterHenderson, John (Cathcart)
Bryan, PaulEmmet, Hon. Mrs. EvelynHendry, Forbes
Buck, AntonyErrington, Sir EricHicks Beach, Maj. W.
Buttard, Deny;Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.Hiley, Joseph
Bullus, Wing Commander EricFarey-Jones, f. W.Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)
Burden, F. A.Farr, JohnHill, J. E. B. (8. Norfolk)
Butcher, Sir HerbertFell, AnthonyHirst, Geoffrey
Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)Fisher, NigelHobson, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Campbell, Gordon (Moray &Nairm)Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesHolland, Philip
Carr, Compton (Barons Court)Forrest, GeorgeHope, Rt. Hon. Lord John
Hopkins, AlanMatthews, Gordon (Meriden)Sharpies, Richard
Hornby, H. P.Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon)Shaw, M.
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dams P.Mawby, RayShepherd, William
Howard, Hon. 0. R. (St. Ives)Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Sheet, T. H, H.
Howard, John (Southampton, Test)Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.Smith, Dudley (Br'ntt'd & Chiswick)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral JohnMills, Stratton)Smithers, Peter
Hughes-Young, MichaelMiscampbell, NormanSmyth, HI. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Hulbert, Sir NormanMontgomery, FergusSoames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Hurd, Sir AnthonyMoore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)Spearman, sir Alexander
Hutchison, Michael ClarkMore, Jasper (Ludlow)Speir, Rupert
Iremonger, T. L.Morgan, WilliamStanley, Hon. Richard
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Morrison, JohnStevens, Geoffrey
Jaokson, JohnMott-Radclyffe, Sir CharlesSteward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
James, DavidNabarro, Sir GeraldStodart, J, A.
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwieh)Neave, AireyStoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Jennings, J. C.Nicholls, Sir HarmarStorey, Sir Samuel
Johnson, Eric (Blackley)Nicholson, Sir- GodfreySummers, Sir Spencer
Johnson Smith, GeoffreyNoble, Rt. Hon. MichaelTalbot, John E.
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir RichardTapsell, Peter
Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)Oakshott, Sir HendnieTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir KeithOrr, Capt. L. P. S.Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Kaberry, Sir DonaldOrr-Ewlng, Sir Ian (Hendon, North)Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)
Kerans, Cdr. J. S.Osborn, John (Hallam)reeling, Sir William
Kerby, Capt. HenryOsborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)Temple, John M.
Kerr, Sir HamiltonPage, John (Harrow, West)Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Kershaw, AnthonyPage, Graham (Crosby)Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Kimball, MarcusPanned, Norman (Kirkdale)Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Kirk, PeterPartridge, E.Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)
Kitson, TimothyPearson, Frank (Clltheroe)Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Lagden, GodfreyPercival, IanThornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Lambton, viscountPeyton, JohnTilney, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Lancaster, Col. C. G.Pickthorn, Sir KennethTilney, John (Wavertree)
Langford-Hoit, Sir JohnPike, Miss MervynTouche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Leather, Sir EdwinPikington, Sir RichardTurner, Colin
Legge-Bourke, Sir HarryPitman, Sir JamesTurton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)Pott, PercivallTweedsmuir, Lady
Lilley, F. i. P.Pounder, R. J.van Straubenzee, W. H.
Linstead, Sir HughPowell, Rt. Hon. J, EnochVane, W. M. F.
Litchfield, Capt. JohnPrice, David (Eastleigh)Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Str John
Lloyd, Rt.Wn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)Vickers, Miss Joan
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)Prior, J. M. L.Vosper, Rt. Hen. Dennis
Longbottom, CharlesPrior-Palmer, Brig. Sir OthoWalder, David
Longden, GilbertProudfoot, WilfredWalker, Peter
Loveys, Walter H.Pym, FrancisWalker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Lucas, Sir jocelynQuennell, Miss J. M.Wall, Patrick
Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughRamsden, Rt. Hon. JamesWard, Dame Irene
McAdden, Sir StephenRawlinson, Sir PeterWatkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
MaoArthur, IanRedmayne, Rt. Hon. MartinWebster, David
McLaren, MartinRees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)Wells, John (Maidstone)
McLaughlin, Mrs. PatriciaRees-Davies, w. R. (Isle of Thanet)Whitelaw, William
Maolay, Rt. Hon. JohnRenton, Rt. Hon. DavidWilliams, Dudley (Exeter)
Maclean,SirFitzroy(ButeN-Ayrs)Ridley, Hon. NicholasWilliams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
McLean, Neil (Inverness)Ridsdale, JulianWills, 8r Gerald (Bridgwater)
Maoleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)Rippon, Rt. Hon. GeoffreyWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
MacLeod, Sir J. (Ross & Cromarty)Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)Wise, A. R.
McMaster, Stanley R.Robertson, Sir D.(C't'hn's & S'th'ld)Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool.s.)Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Maddan, MartinRobson Brown, Sir WilliamWoodhouse, C. M.
Maginnls, John E.Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)Woodnutt, Mark
Malt land, Sir JohnRoots, WilliamWoollam, John
Markham, Major Sir FrankRopner. Col, Sir LeonardWorsley, Marcus
Marlowe, AnthonyRoyle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Marples, Rt. Hon. ErnestRussell, Ronald
Marshall, Sir- DouglasSandys, Rt. Hon. DuncanTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Marten, NailScott-Hopkins, JamesMr, Chichester-Clark and
Mathew, Robert (Honiton)Seymour, LeslieMr. Finlay

Main Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, as follows:

Most Gracious Sovereign,

We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.

To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of Her Majesty's Household.