Research Establishments

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th November 1966.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Grant Mr Anthony Grant , Harrow Central 12:00 am, 30th November 1966

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he has accepted the recommendation of the Plowden Committee that the Government research establishments should be set a firm target for reducing their aeronautical activity.

Photo of Mr Fred Mulley Mr Fred Mulley , Sheffield Park

It is difficult to set a firm target owing to the constantly changing nature of defence and civil requirements, but I am examining what reductions are practicable and a start has been made on certain non-aeronautical work.

Photo of Mr Anthony Grant Mr Anthony Grant , Harrow Central

May I assume from that Reply that the Minister accepts the Plowden Committee's target to reduce aeronautical activity? If so, is he not aware that this will strike a blow at our technological advance, and very much depress the morale of those on whom we greatly depend?

Photo of Mr Fred Mulley Mr Fred Mulley , Sheffield Park

This is part of the reason why we feel that it is not easy to set a firm target. Quite clearly, one has to review the amount of research in conjunction with the needs of the defence services and the amount of civil research required, and we have concentrated more on immediate economic projects rather than on some of the long-term research.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that he has been active in promoting a drive for contact between the R.A.E. and industry?

Photo of Mr Fred Mulley Mr Fred Mulley , Sheffield Park

We are doing all that we can to promote further contacts, and one important development during the last year has been the linking up of two of our establishments with universities on an exchange basis.