HC Deb 04 December 1962 vol 668 cc1123-4
17. Mr. Willis

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what steps are taken by his Department to ensure that, where possible, proposed new research units and laboratories are established in Scotland.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

The overriding consideration must be to locate research establishments where they can best do their work. But my noble Friend has asked all research councils wherever possible to bear in mind the Government's policy for the distribution of industry in development districts in locating their work.

Mr. Willis

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is very important for Scotland and the North-East and similar areas that new laboratories and new research institutes should be sited in these areas whenever possible? Will he take this seriously to heart and make a genuine endeavour to see that it is done?

Mr. Freeth

One must ask oneself why one wants a research laboratory in a particular place. The aim must be to see that the right people who can do the research are there. It is not necessarily true that the establishment of a laboratory provides very much employment.

Mr. Mitchison

Is not there also the point that research may lead to development, and development may lead to practical application, and that that is more likely to happen in and around the places where the research laboratory is put, and is not that a sufficient argument for having these research laboratories particularly in development districts? I should be glad to hear from the hon. Gentleman that he was doing so.

Mr. Freeth

I do not think that this is necessarily true across the whole field of research, although it may well be true in particular fields. In relation to those the hon. and learned Gentleman may not have noticed that for last year no less than one-seventh of D.S.I.R. expenditure was in Scotland.