HC Deb 18 December 1962 vol 669 cc1070-1
25. Mr. Slater

asked the Postmaster-General what inquiries he has made of the North-East England Development Council about a possible sire for a Post Office Engineering Research Organisation.

36. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Postmaster-General if he will take steps to investigate the possibilities of sites in Scotland for a Post Office Engineering Research Organisation.

40. Mr. Hoy

asked the Postmaster-General if he will undertake, in consultation with his Government colleagues, to site the Post Office Engineering Research Laboratory in an area of high unemployment.

Miss Pike

I recognise the special claims to Scotland and the North-East and the areas of high unemployment generally, but I regret that working requirements make it necessary to envisage a location nearer to London for the Post Office Research Station.

Mr. Slater

Will not the hon. Lady agree that by setting up such an organisation, she would assist in giving opportunities to many of our young people who would like to be graded for this type of work? Is she further aware that, at the moment, we have 5,386 young people unemployed in the North-East, an increase of over 3,000 since 1st November? Does she not think that her Department, along with other Government Departments, ought to be concerned very greatly indeed in combating this scourge of unemployment in the North-East as soon as possible?

Miss Pike

I recognise the unemployment figures which the hon. Member gave, but I would remind him that my Department has already directed the Savings Certificate Division to Durham. We are very conscious of the needs of the North-East and of Scotland.

Mr. Lawson

Does not the hon. Lady agree that the Post Office could do a very valuable job for the nation if it were to lead the way in ensuring that these research departments were not all concentrated in the South and South-East? Would not the hon. Lady and her right hon. Friend on this occasion look closely into this matter to see if some other part of the country, other than these crowded areas, could benefit through the Post Office having these research stations installed?

Miss Pike

We recognise the desirability of moving away, but the difficulty is that we must keep our research department and our development department very closely integrated. Our developments are current developments, and, for that reason, it is essential to have our research department in very close touch with the headquarters staff.

Dr. Bray

Will the hon. Lady bear in mind that the convenience of the working arrangements to which she has referred would attract other institutions and institutions and industries to Scotland and the North-East if she would move the engineering research station there?

Miss Pike

As a Yorkshirewoman, I need very little attracting to the North-East.