HC Deb 13 July 1955 vol 543 cc1927-8
36. Mr. Albu

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the amount spent on research out of moneys voted for colonial development and welfare was reduced last year.

Mr. Hopkinson

The amount issued in 1954–55 was £1,173,381 compared with an average annual issue of £1,263,888 over the three previous years. This does not reflect a fall in the amount of research carried out in, or on behalf of, Colonial Territories. The difference in the amount issued is due in the main to a fall in the amount of capital expenditure required now that buildings for the larger new research organisations have been completed. Another factor is that some colonial Governments are now finding it possible to assume a greater proportion of the cost of their research work.

Mr. Albu

Is the Minister aware that there are only 450 scientists in the whole of the Colonial Empire? In view of the great need for research particularly in tropical agriculture, does he think that the amount spent at present and the scientific manpower employed are adequate?

Mr. Hopkinson

We are only too well aware of the shortage of skilled technical personnel of all sorts in the Colonial Territories, and are doing our best to attract them. Quite recently the House voted a sum of £8 million from C.D. and W. funds for colonial research for the next five years. According to my information the indications are that issues for the current financial year will be considerably above those of 1954–55.

Mr. Hastings

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the greatest possible service we can do for these colonial people is to show them how they can increase the productivity of their countries? Does he not feel that we should be wise to spend more money on that than on many other services to them?

Mr. Hopkinson

Both my right hon. Friend and I are fully alive to the importance of research in the Colonial Territories. We are constantly pressing its importance and encouraging it wherever we can.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the time has come for consultation with representatives of the universities in the Colonial Territories and others responsible for sending students over here to urge the necessity for greater concentration upon the kind of education which will fill these vacancies in the Colonial Territories?

Mr. Hopkinson

My right hon. Friend will certainly be glad to consider that suggestion.