HC Deb 08 December 1953 vol 521 cc1806-7
38. Mr. Lee

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government will establish a college of technology.

Mr. R. A. Butler

As announced on 27th January last, the Government propose to develop higher technological education in London by building up the Imperial College of Science and Technology. Outside London the University Grants Committee have invited universities and colleges on their grant list, which are concerned with higher technological education, to submit their plans for development. When all these plans have been received and examined it will be possible to make a further statement.

Mr. Lee

While thanking the Chancellor for that reply, may I ask him whether he will not agree that the recent Government announcement of the restoration of the cuts made upon the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research cannot really succeed unless we can wed science more closely to industry; and that it would, therefore, be the correct policy to give to some college university status in order that we can produce more technologists and scientists to assist in this process? May I further ask him whether, if he agrees to that, he can also agree that Manchester would be an ideal centre for such a university?

Mr. Butler

It is quite clear that the Government intend to go forward with higher technological education and to afford status to the institutions thereby endowed. The first one to be mentioned here is London but it is quite clear that Manchester is well in the running for a further place. There is also a certain institution in Scotland envisaged. Therefore, I hope that the House will realise that the Government mean business in this matter.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Chancellor aware that a good deal of the scientific discovery, which is very great in this country, is not being developed in this country because of the lack of facilities for bringing it to production level, and that many of our best ideas are exploited in other countries? Can something be done through these technological institutions to find some way of developing them in our own industry.

Mr. Butler

Yes, and through the technical colleges.