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Is my hon. Friend aware of the capacity that is available in this research establishment, of the close links with universities in the area, and of the fact that there has been so far a miserable allocation of Government research work in the region?
We are well aware of the problem. I.R.D. is operating at the level of about £1 million a year, and about 40 per cent. of its income is from existing Government contracts. The work which is likely to be placed by N.E.L. is distinct from the proposals already put forward by I.R.D. and is work which is likely to be within the competence of I.R.D. and which might normally be placed with industry by N.E.L.
Is the Joint Parliamentary Secretary aware that we in the North-East feel very strongly about this matter? It was raised in the debate which we had on the East Coast. What is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster doing to try to induce his Department to do something more for us than is being done at present?