HC Deb 15 November 1938 vol 341 cc664-5
47. Mr. Markham

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is the invariable practice of the Import Duties Advisory Committee to inquire as to the provision made for research, and the progress achieved in it, by industries asking for new or increased import duties; and in what proportion of cases they made favourable recommendations during the years 1935–37 where no such provision had been made?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)

I am informed by the Committee that the answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Moreover, the Committee keep in close touch with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in this matter, and take full account of the position disclosed in considering applications. I do not think, however, that the results can be measured by the method suggested in the second part of the question.

Mr. Markham

Can the Chancellor of the Exchequer give any information regarding the amount in the last part of the question?

Sir J. Simon

I am afraid I have not got this information in detail.

Mr. Paling

Should it not be fairly simple to make the calculation as to whether these firms have any method of scientific research?

Sir J. Simon

That is not necessarily done by the individual firms. There are associations which do that in certain cases.

48. Mr. Markham

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the expansion of the revenue is being impeded by the growing tendency of industrial firms to compete with each other by the method of expenditure on advertising rather than by the method of expenditure on the application of science to industry: and what steps he is taking to counteract this tendency?

Sir J. Simon

I am not in a position to express an opinion as to the tendency alleged by my hon. Friend; and in any event I should hesitate to accept his view of the ultimate advantage to the revenue of different categories of commercial expenditure. The Government are, of course, always anxious that British industry shall make the fullest possible use of scientific methods and discoveries, and to that end continue to offer financial assistance, through the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, to approved industrial research associations, the number of which is steadily growing.