HC Deb 20 June 1956 vol 554 cc1585-6

Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 84 (Money Committees).—[Queens Recommendation signified.]

[Sir CHARLES MACANDREW in the Chair]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make provision with respect to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of the remuneration of the members of any Research Council established by the said Act of the present Session or of any committee appointed by that Council, the salaries and allowances of the Secretary of that Council and of the other officers and servants of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and any expenditure incurred by the said Council under the said Act of the present Session.—[Mr. H. Brooke.]

10.58 p.m.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

I am sure that we can dispose of this Question by 11 o'clock, but I just want to say that no one suggested that the Minister who should take responsi- bility for the money to be spent should have a totalitarian control over science. What we are asking for is that there should be a senior Minister in this House responsible for answering Questions on this matter. That is the point I developed, and the point that the Financial Secretary did not answer. We are not referring to totalitarian control. I did not hear that argument advanced. It is on that point that we should like the right hon. Gentleman's views.

One further point on which we should like the right hon. Gentleman's views. At the moment, certain research is being financed from American counterpart funds, particularly in relation to automation. Can we be assured that that finance will go on and that research into automation will continue to be financed when these counterpart funds come to an end in November?

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Henry Brooke)

I am not sure whether it is in order for me to discuss Ministerial responsibility here. All I can say is that everything that has been said in the debate will be examined by the Government. I trust that the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that there is anyone either in the House of Commons or in the country at large who could fulfil the major responsibility better than my noble Friend the Lord President of the Council.

Resolution to be reported Tomorrow.

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