HC Deb 29 May 1956 vol 553 cc8-9
9. Mr. K. Thompson

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what advice he gives to commercial research associations in receipt of grant aid from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research as to the terms on which they should make information available to others than members of their association.

Mr. Bevins

The research associations in receipt of grant aid are advised to make information available as widely as is possible without prejudicing the welfare of their own members and of the industries they serve.

Mr. Thompson

Is my hon. Friend aware that, whilst it is undoubtedly desirable that the information should be circulated as widely as possible without prejudice to the interest of the members, the main interest is surely that of the country as a whole and that if possible this information should be more widely disseminated? Will my hon. Friend get in touch with his noble Friend to ensure that every step is taken to spread the information as widely as possible, without any strings at all?

Mr. Bevins

My hon. Friend must realise that these research associations are autonomous bodies, and my noble Friend is in no position to dictate to them what they should and should not do. I agree that it is desirable that information should be disseminated as widely as possible, but it is also desirable that the associations should stand more and more on their own feet financially, and the supply of information from research associations is an incentive to membership.

Mr. Lewis

On a point of order. May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to point out to the Minister concerned that it is the custom to address you when an hon. Member is being answered, because otherwise hon. Members cannot hear the reply?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member can address his own request. I was able to hear the Minister, even though he had his head turned away from me. The hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) sits in a part of the House where, if he did not address me, he would not address any Member at all.

Mr. Lewis

In view of the fact that I did not hear your last remark, Sir, may I assure you that I shall take the opportunity of reading it in HANSARD, as I shall also read the reply of the Minister?

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