§ 31. Mr. Millan
asked the Postmaster-General how many scientists, skilled technicians, semi-skilled technicians, and unskilled men and women are employed at the Post Office Engineering Laboratory at Dollis Hill; and how many of these are on the permanent staff of his Department.
§ Miss Pike
The staff of the Dollis Hill Research Station numbers 1,306, of whom 1,075 are established staff.
Post Office gradings do not readily fit the categories listed in the Question; but I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT an analysis which will, I hope, meet the hon. Member's needs.
§ Mr. Millan
Is it not clear from that Answer that this is a very large research establishment, and just the kind of thing we want in Scotland or in other development areas? Is the hon. Lady aware that the argument of administrative inconvenience is precisely the argument used by private industry? If the Government will not set an example, how can they possibly expect private industry to co-operate with them in their distribution of industry policy?
§ Following is the analysis:
|Scientific Officer Class||57||49|
|Experimental Officer Class||92||86|
|Professional Engineering Grades||166||159|
|Drawing Office Staff||76||70|
|Assistant Telephone Mechanics||43||13|
|Executive, Clerical, Typing, etc. Staff||92||55|
§ Mr. Ross
But would it not have been a good idea to have had a discussion with the Advisory Council, which is a cross-section of persons all over the country, to see whether or not the best possible site for the new laboratory was where the Minister intends to have it? Does she not think that it would have been far better to have had that very thin argument of hers looked at by these business men and representative persons, because it just does not work?
§ Miss Pike
This, of course, is a matter of internal organisation, and it has never been customary to discuss this with the Advisory Council. But I would add that it is not the business people whom we wish to be near. We wish to keep our research staff and development staff close together, and that is the necessity for having our research station near our headquarters.
§ Mr. W. R. Williams
Whilst I would not, perhaps, go all the way with my hon. Friends in regard to the transfer to which reference has been made, is it not clear from the many Questions to the hon. Lady and to her right hon. Friend on the Order Paper today, that many of us on this side feel that the Post Office can take some very effective steps, during these critical days in some of the depressed areas, by making quite sure that the experimental work at Dollis Hill is distributed more evenly—in Scotland, the North-East and in other parts—instead of being concentrated in some of the more progressive and prosperous areas, as it is now? I cannot subscribe to some of the suggestions made, but I feel that the Post Office can do very much more effective work than it is doing at present.