§ 1. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science if he will make a statement about the scope, purpose and personnel of the social science research council which he has set up.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary for Science (Mr. Denzil Freeth)
The Government have not set up a social science research council, and I cannot, 1110 for the present, add anything to the Answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) on 21st May, 1962.
§ Mr. Hughes
If the Parliamentary Secretary cannot add anything after this long time, does he agree that it should be within the scope of any social science research council to stop the trend to the south of Britain, which is continuing the obnoxious policy of the clearances, which is depopulating the north of this island, which is overcrowding the south, and which is driving trade, industry and commerce to the south? Will he formulate and implement a really constructive policy which will reverse that very objectionable practice?
§ Mr. Freeth
As I understand it, the duties of a social science research council in the minds of those who put it forward, would be to collate existing research and stimulate further research. I think that the actions which the hon. and learned Gentleman has in mind would be actions for the executive departments of the Government to undertake.
§ Mr. Albu
Has the Minister seen the very interesting discussions that have recently been going on in the Press on the formation of a social research council, most of those taking part supporting the idea? Is he aware of the growing interest in social science research which is demonstrated by the success of the new periodical, New Society?
§ Mr. Freeth
I have seen New Society, and I am most heartened by the growing interest in the social sciences to which the hon. Member referred. The actual establishment by the Government of a social science research council goes beyond the Departmental responsibilities of my noble Friend, and would have to be a Government decision.