HC Deb 15 December 1953 vol 522 cc204-5
62. Mr. Beswick

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, how far it is his policy to encourage the Road Research Laboratory to engage in research with, and on behalf of, industrial firms on a re-payment basis; and what steps he takes to implement this policy.

Mr. Bevins

The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research welcomes special arrangements for researches planned and paid for jointly by the Department and industrial groups. At present, such researches form only a small fraction of the work of the Road Research Laboratory although it works in close touch with the road materials, road construction and motor industries. Special investigations are also undertaken from time to time for individual firms on repayment of the full cost. This work is only done as resources permit, when the Laboratory is specially able to help an individual firm and when there is no other organisation or consultant able to do the work.

Mr. Beswick

Does the hon. Member realise that under the present arrangements, whatever work is done with industrial firms and whatever revenues are received, because of the ceiling imposed, both financial and in personnel, less work is possible for other essential research? Will he therefore see that whatever revenues are received in this way are in addition to the total budget of the laboratory?

Mr. Bevins

The hon. Member is quite correct in that moneys received from individual firms are taken into account in the computation of grants from the Government. On the other hand, it is important that the Department should maintain a proper balance between its own planned research and research for industrial firms.