HC Deb 30 November 1959 vol 614 cc852-3
21. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Minister of Power the amount spent annually on research into the uses of coal, as distinct from coal-winning methods; how this research is co-ordinated; and what steps are being taken to increase the amount spent on research in this field by the various nationalised industries for which he is responsible.

Mr. Wood

The Government, the nationalised industries and the research associations are spending about £1.6 million a year on research, as well as increasing amounts on the development of new processes. It is my responsibility to co-ordinate these research programmes. In doing so, I have the advice of my Scientific Advisory Council under the Chairmanship of Sir Alexander Fleck.

I have no figures for research expenditure by private firms. I know of no promising field of investigation which is being neglected for lack of funds, but it is possible that the report of the Wilson Committee on Coal Derivatives may suggest directions in which the research could usefully be intensified.

Mr. Wyatt

As the oil companies are spending about six to seven times as much on research into the use of oil, is it not a pitiful amount that the Government are spending through their nationalised industry on the research into the use of coal, our basic industry?

Mr. Wood

I do not see any point in spending money unless we can find something to spend it on.

Forward to