HC Deb 29 April 1958 vol 587 cc164-5
8. Miss Burton

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what comparative information about consumer goods is in the records of the 45 grant-aided research associations of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research; why such information is not made public; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. H. Nicholls

Research associations receiving grant-aid from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research do not as a rule undertake routine testing and, therefore, have little, if any, comparative information on consumer goods.

Miss Burton

I think the Parliamentary Secretary is missing the point. Is he aware that these research stations refuse to make available the results of their tests, for example, to the Consumer Council of the British Standards Institution? Does he not agree that, as public money is being spent on these research stations and on the B.S.I. to obtain this information, it is important it should not be duplicated?

Mr. Nicholls

I know of the keen interest of the hon. Lady in consumer standards, but this particular service is on fundamental matters of research. The various members of the associations get together to do fundamental research and the associations receive grants in aid. One of the ways in which they can get together to carry out this research work requires that it should be confidential. The comparison between one group of goods and another does not come out in research and this is not in the line of country in which the hon. Lady is usually interested.