§ 3.33 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)
Having caught your eye, Sir Robert, with such unusual facility, I feel tempted to ask the indulgence of the Committee as aback bencher who spent nearly eighteen years on the back benches and whose visit to the Front 36 Bench a few years ago was extremely brief. I also have a second reason for asking it, which is that I must declare not an interest in science, but an ignorance of science. On this subject, however, I feel more confidence in view not only of the unblemished humanities record of the Parliamentary Secretary, but of the Minister for Science as well, who is as pure a classicist as I was.
When thinking about this topic, I could not help reflecting that, at least, this is not the first time that the House of Commons has debated great subjects with little knowledge. I suppose that 600 years ago, the majority of Members of Parliament were as ignorant of the humanities as the majority of Members of Parliament are ignorant of science and mathematics today, and that the majority of Members who could read with difficulty and put their cross looked with a curious mixture of irritation and respect upon the half-dozen Clerks, who could read and actually had the unfair advantage of writing as well, regarding them as dangerous men—men who were useful but who were grudged their special techniques.
But then, I suppose, one could say that the modern State came when it became a necessary accomplishment for the administrator and the politician to know the humanities—first, classics and then, humanities generally. Now, we are moving from that epoch into a new epoch in which the administrator and the politician cannot do their jobs properly if they have knowledge only of the humanities. They must have science and mathematics as well.
To cope with the problems of the scientific revolution in which we live, we have to be numerate as well as literate. In this country, that is still a rarity and it is one of the reasons why we have great problems in our national revival. The truth is that today the managing director in the boardroom, the Permanent Under-Secretary in a Government Department, or the editor of a great newspaper are only too often not merely ignorant—that is forgivable in us all—but actively hostile to the scientific spirit; and it is this anti-scientific climate of public opinion which is causing desperation among our scientists and technologists.
37 I say straight away that I do not believe that the quality of British scientists and technologists has in any way been reduced. It must, however, be faced that if one goes among them, as I have done during the last three or four months, what strikes one first and foremost is the mood of desperation which one finds.
How do I know that? Because thousands of the finest of our scientists and engineers are now demonstrating their demoralisation in the most devastating way possible by leaving the country in droves.
§ Mr. Crossman
The hon. Gentleman says that they always did. I will give him a few facts to indicate that the present flight of scientists to the United States of America is unprecedented and is increasing fast.
First, however, I want to get clear what we are deploring. Nobody in the House of Commons, I hope, deplores the free exchange of scientists between one country and another. We want to see our scientists going to the Commonwealth and Commonwealth scientists coming back here. Above all, we want our scientists to contribute to the uprising of the underdeveloped territories. That is something which we want to see. We want to see a fair exchange. In the case of emigration to the United States, however, we have a total loss. As the Minister for Science reminded us the other day, it costs £20,000 to educate a Ph.D. This is a financial loss as well as a desperate loss to the science of this country.
We all know that some months ago, the Royal Society undertook a careful study to see exactly what had happened. It studied, therefore, the flow to America compared with the general flow outside. I will give the Committee one set of figures which illustrate the problem. Taking physicists, in the decade from 1952to 1962—I am answering the point made by the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. J. Rodgers) about whether this is something which has always occurred—206 physicists in all left this country, of whom 112, or half, went to America. Of 61 biochemists who left, 33 went to America. In chemistry, the total was 364, of whom 212 went to America. In 38 other words, two-thirds of our chemists went to the United States. In metallurgy, the figures were 71 and 40.
If one takes the total of Ph.D.s, which is all that the Royal Society was able to study accurately, the total was 1,136, of whom 518 went to America.
§ Mr. Crossman
I have thought about this and if the hon. Member will allow me to make my speech, I hope to show the situation. These are the total numbers of emigrant Ph.D.s.
In the case of engineers, we have no figures in this country. I wish that we did. I have had to find some American figures and the best I can find were in a study by the National Science Foundation called Scientific Manpower from Abroad. These are figures only of immigrants into America. These, therefore, are the people who go permanently.
Of 3,000 engineers who went to America in 1961, 1,200 came from Canada and Britain. To go back to 1960, of 3,300going to America, 1,500 were from Canada or Britain. Thus, half of the total of engineers entering America permanently were from Britain and Canada. It is fair to say that of those who came from Canada a high percentage had came originally from this country.
§ Mr. R. Gresham Cooke (Twickenham)
The hon. Member is giving figures from Canada. We are talking about Britain.
§ Mr. Crossman
I have given the figure for those engineers who have permanently emigrated to the United States. I do not know what the hon. Gentleman thinks he is doing. I should have thought that it was in the interests of the country to recognise that we have here a most grave situation—that, apart from a healthy interchange, which all would welcome, we have a flood of scientists and engineers streaming to the United States with virtually no one coming back.
But the gross figure is not the most important thing here. Much more important is the rate of annual flow. We find that the rate of annual flow has 39 doubled in the ten years of the decade. The figure was 4 per cent. in 1952 and it is 8 per cent. in 1962.
When the Royal Society brought these figures out, what was the reaction of the Conservative Government and of the Minister in charge of this matter? A debate took place in another place. Although it would be in order to quote at length the Minister's statement, I will not subject the Committee to such an ordeal. I would remind the Committee merely that the Minister, having been given this strictly scientific study of the figures, replied that he was not content with the Royal Society's explanation and that he discovered that this was really all due to the badness of the American high school. He said that the high schools were so bad in America that the American Government and American big business were compelled "to live parasitically on the brains of other nations in order to supply their own needs."
So the fault lay, according to him, not in ourselves but in our allies! It is not surprising that this astonishing statement caused an explosion of outraged indignation among scientists which is still rumbling round the scientific world. What added insult to injury was the well-known fact that the country which was called "a parasite" subsidises our exiguously financed research with lavish subsidies from American foundations and even from the American Government.
The other day at a meeting of our Parliamentary and Scientific Committee many hon. Members heard a brilliant paper by Professor Stone, of Cambridge, in which he described to us his completely new mathematical model of the national economy, which is of enormous theoretical importance and may well have great practical importance in the long run in the planning of our economy. When Professor Stone finished, an hon. Member said to him, "How is the cash?" Professor Stone replied that, as usual, they got no money from here, and added "I got £10,000 for this from the Ford Foundation. It is running out now. I am trying to get something out of the Bank of England. I hope that it will be possible, but I am not sure".
It was a very interesting moment in one's life to hear it solemnly admitted 40 that something which is of vital importance to us was relying on the Ford Foundation and that it was doubtful whether the Bank of England would be able to "cough up" £10,000 for it. The fact that all scientists, and particularly the scientists in Cambridge, knew this very well explains why it was so difficult for the Minister for Science to have his honorary degree approved. I can well understand the feelings of the scientists when a politician who becomes the Minister for Science denies the facts and seeks to falsify them for purely political reasons.
What the Minister was trying to do was to say, "It is not my fault. It is nothing to do with my Department. It is nothing to do with the Government. It is all the fault of the Americans". I want to put on the record this afternoon whose fault it is and what is wrong. Let us analyse why the scientists are going to America. Let us discover what is wrong with the universities and our higher education which makes these people leave Britain. It is not that these people do not like Britain. Indeed, most of them would vastly prefer to live here.
I will list five inadequacies, for which the Minister for Science is responsible, with the Government. The first is inadequate salaries. The second is inadequate laboratories and equipment. The third is inadequate opportunities for promotion. The fourth is inadequate postgraduate facilities. The fifth is inadequate time for research; in this country we have many more pupils and far fewer sabbatical years than in the case of the American scientist. The first three of these reasons I have listed apply to everybody, whether engaged in civil research establishments or in university research; the last two only to those in higher education. But I would assert that, together, these five inadequacies have caused the demoralisation which is the prime reason for the brain drain.
I think that I can guess what the Parliamentary Secretary will say in reply. He will say that over the last four or five years the Government have been trying to make good the situation by upping grants, upping building plans, and upping everything else, and he will ask why we cannot be content. I put it on record that we recognise, of course, that a good deal has been done over the last 41 four or five years to try to catch up and that a good deal is being done now.
But the central problem that we face is that the rate at which we are investing in science and technology is nothing like fast enough to enable us to catch up. That is the real difficulty. Unless we are prepared to make the rate something like double the present one, we shall not be able to create the conditions which will keep our scientists and technologists here and prevent them from feeling that there is stagnancy at home and dynamism abroad.
I suggest that in this respect there is a curious resemblance between the problems of British science and the problems of British sport. Fifty years ago we led the world in sport because we invented it for gentlemen with amateur status. So long as nobody else professionalised themselves we could win the races. Gradually, sport changed—becameprofessionalised. There were new techniques. There were new team methods. Vast sums were spent on sports grounds, equipment and trainers. The whole character of sport changed. We had to choose either to change with it or to lose. We did a little bit of change, and we lost.
I suggest that that analogy holds very closely for the problems of science today. Since 1918 our standing has been slipping. In 1939, we were still able to hold our own in half a dozen fields in which we were pre-eminent, but since the war the situation has altered. This has happened because we were determined to retain our easy-going amateur status. The rest of the world is now passing us by. What our scientists feel today is that they do not get an equal chance with the scientists in America, Russia, France or Germany—for this applies not only to America. It applies to practically every other country in the world where the scale of modern science has been realised and enormous sums are being invested in equipping the scientists with the means of carrying out their researches.
Let me illustrate that with one or two words from America. I was very interested to read the other day a self-examination which was carried out by a group of British scientists working in Harvard, M.I.T. and Florida State. A questionnaire was answered by 83 scientists working at those places. The replies showed overwhelmingly that of 42 the 83 only 27 were determined to come back to England. The remainder had decided to stay in the United States or were coming back with the hope of returning to America.
The figures did not interest me nearly so much as the reasons which they gave. I will give the Committee two examples of the reasons. I shall not quote names, but, if the Parliamentary Secretary wants them, those concerned are willing that this document should be handed over to him, and they would like him to cross-examine them because they are anxious to make him realise what is wrong.
One of them says:One generation back, Britain led the world in the subject which interests me—central neuro-physiology. The leadership has now passed to the United States. I would attribute this change primarily to the restriction of research facilities which has bred a cautious and conservative group who spend much of their time confirming the results of others. The blinkers which grow about the eyes of old men are forced by economic pressure on to the faces of the young.Another one who has come back after two and a half years—he has not a family—has a very good job which will be financed by an American foundation. He says:In my field which is generally considered to be in an exciting, challenging and highly important state of development, there are two laboratores in England which have international standing, and no further ones are planned. In the United States there are perhaps 50, and new departments and research institutes are being built all over the country. The result is more and better research, greater opportunities, better and more effective teaching, and in all an atmosphere of enthusiasm and intellectual ferment, which all of us here envy. By contrast, in Britain there are university departments where research has all but ceased; laboratories are still housed in disused cinemas, in sheds, in converted lavatories … Worst of all, the number of research students who call be accommodated, or for whom grants … can be obtained is miserably small. This retards scientific progress, and frustrates innumerable young scientists of great potential.Like all my colleagues, I am deeply convinced that higher education can flourish only in the presence of free research. The dangers of the present situation seem to me immeasurable … Every week one hears of scientists leaving in despair … the surge across the Atlantic has only just begun.
§ Mr. Crossman
I will give the hon. Gentleman that information and this 43 man's name afterwards if he wishes to have them.
Another letter says:A scientist's best research is generally done before he reaches middle age. There is a whole generation of younger scientists who have waited in vain for better opportunities to do their work in this country … they cannot afford to wait much longer.This is really a plea from the heart by a man who would like to stay here. If one's best research period comes before the age of 35 or 40, then one must get a professorship earlier than one can get it today. But, in this country, one is not only frustrated by lack of Government funds, but also by the "Establishment" attitude and the oligarchical system—I do not think that the universities are free of blame in this—which holds our youngest scientists down. That is the picture that the Minister should have accepted as the truth and then decided how he would deal with it. We have asked him to decide on a practical policy by which this situation can be remedied and by which the flight to America can be halted, as halted it must be if our national survival is to be ensured. We shall not get a 4 per cent. growth in our national economy, or any of the things we must have, unless we have the scientists and technologists in this country both to do research and, above all, to train our children to be numerate as well as literate and better than ourselves. What are we to do about it?
The Opposition have taken advice from a number of eminent scientists and technologists, to whom I would now like to pay tribute. They have convinced me that money is by no means the only question, that what is first and foremost needed is to deal with the demoralisation which comes from the fact that our younger men do not see any hope of the situation here being improved in the next five or ten years. If these men felt that there was a firm determination that education was to be put at the head of the national investment programme, then they would stay in this country.
I want to read a sentence from The Times, found there by the Principal of London University, and which I gladly borrow:… education must be put at the head of the national investment programme, if a satisfactory growth in national income is to be achieved.44 It is true that to invest money in machinery or capital equipment while saving money on higher education is totally destructive of our chances of staging the recovery which we all desire.
I want to illustrate what I think has gone wrong since the wax by recalling briefly the history of higher education since 1945. Stage 1 was under the Labour Government. During those five years—I will be frank—we had a deplorable failure to launch a building programme. We wanted factories and housing and we did not see what we should have seen—that we could not afford to hold back on building in higher education. We should have done it, but we did not. However, we did double the number of students in our universities. We got them there under bad conditions because we did not improve the buildings. The students at our universities reached a total of 85,314, double the pre-war peak.
Stage 2: The Conservatives came to power and the numbers actually declined. Between 1951 and 1955 there was a decline in the number of people in higher education. And there was not even the excuse that the Government were in the meantime providing new buildings, because, in fact, they did not have a building programme, either. So they neither had the people nor the buildings. They did nothing about the situation. That was stage 2.
Stage 3 started in January, 1957, when a sudden decision was made that higher education mattered. But I estimate that there have been six changes in the target figure for the university population. I will not read them all out. They are all to be found in the record, but the figure has crept up from 106,000 to 150,000. It is impossible to have a properly planned expansion if the politician in charge changes the directive every eighteen months and the target creeps up bit by bit. That has been the difficulty which has been hampering the University Grants Committee.
If hon. Members will not take this from me I will quote them the words of Sir Douglas Logan, at Cambridge. He said:The age in which we live is sometimes called the age of planning. When we survey the development of university aid during the decade, however, the absence of a coherent plan consistently followed is painfully 45 Obvious. … The inability to take the long view, the repeated alterations in the target, the fixing of objectives without willing the necessary means are the very negation of planning. The root of the trouble is that the Government is not yet fully converted to the view that education must be put at the head of the national investment programme …Those words were not those of a Socialist. Sir Douglas is a vigorous and politically independent man, Principal of London University, speaking on behalf of the university world, including the Institutes of Technology. They are saying that if the Government creep the target figure up bit by bit, they cannot plan rationally.
They are telling the Government never again to do what they did last year—demand more places and yet refuse to allow the necessary recurrent grants. That kind of policy makes it impossible to have the steady growth which is needed to give heart back to our scientists and technologists. Our scientists will believe in their future in this country when they can see that laboratories are being built and posts created to enable them to have the opportunities here which they would get abroad.
It is clear that if we want to change this situation the first thing to do is to lay down a 10-year target and keep to it. We think that the most important target required is to double the number of university places over ten years—say, from 1965 to 1975, from 140,000 to 280,000, or 7 per cent. a year. That is a lot, but even so we will not be creating sufficient places for all sixth formers. We should get 10 per cent. of each "year-group" into the universities instead of 5 per cent.
This idea of a 10-year programme to double our university population is, of course, from the scientific point of view only tolerable if it is accompanied by a programme of expansion of research. Just to double the number of student places would wreck scientific research, because the scientists would have to teach more and more and do less and less research while their laboratories would be more over-crowded. Thus, simultaneously, with the increase in university population we shall have to have a huge plan for buildings and—much more important—for creating posts.
We must first create facilities for people to be post-graduates because if one wants, them to stay on in this 46 country and to study, one must make it possible for them to do so. We must also give them the possibility of promotion at an early age to professorships, which is an opportunity they would certainly get overseas. If we want the kind of growth we envisage, then we will have to create 2,000 new places in universities and in our colleges of advanced technology, which should be up-graded at once and given university status. I have included their figures in the calculations I have given.
Hon. Members may be wondering about the finance involved. We have tried to make a calculation of the extra finance required for the research staff and new building, that is to say, beyond the provision for teaching. We calculate that, at the very maximum, in the first three years an average total increase on research of £30 million to £35 million would be sufficient to create a completely new climate in our universities. For the benefit of the Parliamentary Secretary, we break it down roughly in this way: £7 million on current expenditure, £17 million on capital expenditure, and £8 million on grants to research councils.
Invest those amounts and, we believe, we should create a situation in which no scientist could again go on the B.B.C. and say the sort of things which those scientists were forced to say in the remarkable television programme, "Science in the Shadows", which some of us saw. For the first time, in that programme millions of British people realised how scientists have to work—spend more than half their time trying to cadge a little money. They saw for the first time the physical conditions in which scientists have to work and understood what the situation really is.
£35 million a year is a lot of money. But it is not so much when one remembers that even a single changed estimate for a weapon system can cost £80 million a year. One change in an estimate costs £80 million, yet here we are talking of less than half that amount which would liberate the scientific brain-power which it is absolutely essential to use in the struggle for national survival. Moreover in the long-term I reckon that, even taking into account this increase plus the cost of doubling the number of places, we should be spending, instead of the present ½ per cent. of our national income on higher education, about 1 per cent. by 1975.
47 Now comes the question, if we are to launch a gigantic programme of this sort—I do not underestimate it; it is an enormous programme both for building and for staff—how will it be administered? Here, I say a few words about the functions of the Minister for Science. I know that the Minister is proud of saying that he is the Minister for Science, not Minister of Science. I have read his book with interest. I think that he says it not just because the pledge to make a Minister for Science was an election gimmick in 1959—that is not fair—but because he genuinely believes that, in order to maintain academic freedom, in order to keep in Britain the kind of cultured science, the pure, free independent spirit which all of us greatly respect, we must preserve science and technology from any massive national plan.
I hold exactly the opposite view. I believe that our science and technology can develop only under a great national plan which takes them out of the cloistered atmosphere of the pre-war university, which makes our universities and institutes more like the great universities of America, of Russia and even of China. I was the product, in that sense, of the age of the small universities, although Oxford in my time was a big university by British standards. Naturally, I had an inclination to think that quality depends upon being small. But it does not happen to be true in science and technology.
A university of 20,000 is not a monstrosity. Its size enables it really to cover at least some of all the multifarious research studies which are required. A university of 3,000 is a liberal arts foundation where one wastes money, where one cannot do the job adequately. Some of us are particularly anxious lest the half dozen new universities which we have founded may stick at a level of numbers which prevents their becoming efficient modern universities. Every effort should be made to bring them above 5,000 as soon as we possibly can. We must avoid the terrible danger of every new university setting out to be a universitas, a place where one can learn anything, the idea being that every university should have Professors of Theology, of Romance History, and the rest, each with a pupil and a half. This is the most expensive 48 piece of obsolete freedom in the whole world. We cannot tolerate that kind of obsolete psychology which inspires Lord Hailsham's belief. With all respect to the belief I know he genuinely holds, it is nonsense.
We must move away from those ideas and have a great national plan under which a real Minister of Science with a real Ministry at his disposal works, on the one side, with the institutions of higher education and, on the other, with industry where the science must be applied. He must have a national plan for industry, on the one hand, and a national plan for higher education, on the other.
I do not wish to discuss now exactly how this should be done in terms of Whitehall. Some people think that we ought to have a centralised Ministry of Education and, alongside, a Ministry of Science. Others believe—I think that this is what I should prefer—that we should have a Minister of Education, on the one side, and a Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Technology, on the other. However, this is not my central point now. I wish merely to show the total inadequacy of what has been done in the past.
After three years, the Minister for Science and his Parliamentary Secretary are positively proud of their incapacity to do anything. "This proves how good we are," they say. "If we could do anything, we might do harm", they say, "we might impede academic freedom. We might upset people". So there they stay, with their busload of civil servants, which makes quite certain that they cannot do any harm. Meanwhile, the flight of scientists across the Atlantic proceeds precisely because there is no central dynamism, precisely because there is no hope at present of there coming from the centre, from Whitehall or Westminster, the kind of thrust right through industry and right through the universities which would really create the drive for national survival.
How do we do it? I suggest that the rôle of the Minister here is enormously important. I conceive that the Minister of Science would have three major functions. First, he should control all research. Of course, the research councils are independent bodies which would still allocate the research within the sum, 49 but the total allocation must be made by the Minister. For this purpose, he ought to have a whole-time Central Science Board to look over the whole field and recommend how research is allocated. In higher education, he should have a reconstituted University Grants Commission. On the side of industry, he should have a central advisory board on technology, that is, a group to advise him on how to make his impact on industry.
On the university side, a separate Minister is necessary partly in order to try to drag us out of the "cloistered calm" notion of the university. Partly, it is necessary to enable specialisation to take place. If every university cannot do everything, someone must decide who specialises in what. This is only possible if there is a central plan administered by a Minister of Science, by the Government.
Third, it is above all important that the Minister should make it his job to stop the separation which now divides research from teaching, pure science from technology and scientists from industrialists. This country has not only got a class-ridden society. There is a class system which works within university education and science and which is ruining our chances of national survival. The Minister for Science should make it his business to see that these artificial snobberies are broken down, the snobberies which make a young man in the sixth form, for instance, believe that pure science can be done only in universities and decide, therefore, that he will not go into industry. We have this ruinous separation now, even at the age of 14, when children have to make up their minds between the arts or science, thinking that the arts are, somehow, superior. The Minister must deal with the whole situation from the top.
First, he should deal with it by elevating the colleges of advanced technology and seeing that they are given full university status. Our C. A. T. s are wonderful places. They should be regarded like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The M.I.T. is one of the greatest universities in the world. Harvard does not think that the M.I.T., which is only a couple of miles or so away, is in some way inferior. We have some very promising C.A.T.s. They should be treated as the fine organisa- 50 tions they are and be given full university status. They should have the right to grant degrees and everything else. Let their professors be called professors; they are just as good at professing. The British people attach importance to titles in education—although I do not set much store by them myself—and titles seem to matter to the educators even more, perhaps, than they do to other people. Good. Then concede the titles!
§ Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)
Is the hon. Gentleman advocating that the whole of higher education—the colleges of advanced technology and the universities, including the arts side of the universities—should be part of the responsibility of the Minister for Science?
§ Mr. Crossman
I suggested tentatively that one way to do it would be to have a Minister of higher education, science and research. I should have thought that that was the most sensible thing to do.
I wish to say a few words about the problem of science and technology. One of the most important things which Germany has—and I speak with some knowledge of West Germany—and which we do not have is universities in living contact with industry. I should like to see, in my town of Coventry, a university which does not try to ape Oxbridge and compete in all the humane faculties. I should like Coventry University to be proud to be linked with the industry of the town.
At Eindhoven, in Holland, a third of the university professors work at Philips. Is that shocking? Not at all. It links the university with industry and industry with the university. They fertilise each other. We, too, should stop this snobbish division between what is useful and what is true. This is the most important thing which the Minister responsible for science would have to overcome.
That brings me to the other side of this problem, the application of science to industry. My task is made a great deal easier by a remarkable speech made by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) in our first science debate three years ago. He said that it would be a waste of time if the introduction of a Minister for Science did not lead to a central plan based on central scientific intelligence 51 and designed to see that the Government were used in the civil side as in the defence side to achieve the major breakthrough required as much in industry in peace time as it is in wartime. I remember as I was sitting in my place thinking, "This is quite a speech". It was dismissed by the Parliamentary Secretary. It was the only speech which he did not answer. Plenty of columns in his speech were devoted to the other speeches, but not to this one.
After two years the Federation of British Industry brought its civil research policy up to date. However, it has not given credit to the author of this policy, the right hon. Member for Hall Green. This is his plan, lock, stock and barrel. So the prophet has at last got honour in his own country! The industrialists have taken him seriously because they see the red light. They have seen the reduction in the Government expenditure on research and development for defence. Expenditure on research and development in defence has fallen in five years from 59 per cent. to 39 per cent. of the total expenditure on research and development. But even so this year the grand total is £630 million. The Government have £245 million on defence out of £385 million and private industry has £213 million.
The F.B.I., in this remarkable document, demand Government pump priming because private industry could not do the job. Because its resources are not great enough, private industry must ask the Government to help. How willing we are to hear these converts to our view. What a wonderful thing it is that they at last realise that it is impossible for private industry to do the job. It is too big for individual firms or consortia. The Government must help and if they will not do it through the by-products of weapons systems, the F.B.I, insists that they do it direct.
My own view is that they should do it direct, anyway. We should not have waited until we had given up the independent deterrent. Yes, I said "given up" because science wise, we have given it up. No scientific research is being done on maintaining it in the future. That is why Aldermaston is a place where no one knows what he is doing because the functions of research in 52 nuclear weapons, electronics, missiles, and so on, have been cut down by the Government.
Therefore, the F.B.I, says, "We must have access to Government research establishments for peaceful uses", and I agree. Government research establishments are enormously costly institutions. The security might be lifted off most of them so that we could look at them and find out whether the fantastic expenditure is justified and whether all the talent and skilled craftsmen involved could not be used more usefully than they are. There are many things which we should like to do.
However, I disagree with the F.B.I.'s view as to how the Government should handle the firms to which they give money. The F.B.I. says that the Government should choose one firm and give development contracts as was done in defence. And it goes on to suggest that there is no other way by which we can get a large-scale injection of Government R and D except by the development contract boldly given to one firm. But the idea that, having given it to a firm, the Government should raise their eyes and say, "We are not interested in what profits the firm makes" is an idealism beyond me. I have always heard that businessmen believed that when one invested money one had the right to a return on one's money. Apparently, that applies only when private enterprise invest money because when the Government says to a firm, "I want to be a big investor" they raise their eyes above the level of profit.
If the Committee does not believe me, I should like to read the passage in question from the pamphlet. I am sorry; I have lost the passage.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary for Science (Mr. Denzil Freeth)
It is page 5.
§ Mr. Crossman
The Parliamentary Secretary is a chivalrous and generous man. That is a handsome gesture, considering what is coming.
The pamphlet states:We cannot escape the conclusion that the Government should face up to the possibly invidious task of selecting the most suitable firm on the basis of the best chance of success both scientifically and commercially.And he went on to say that the Government should not be too concerned about 53 royalties which in America are sometimes waived by the Government or oversensitive about possible advantage which might accrue to a company. We take a very different view. If the Government are to become, as we have said for years they should become, a major investor and invest not only money but the brains of our scientists and technologists and the skill of our craftsmen in private enterprise they must, first, demand a full return for the taxpayer and, secondly, where they are in a commanding position, they must exert control. They must provide the money and they must have the control and there seems to me no real alternative to that.
I would go a stage further. Another sentence in the F.B.I, pamphlet states:This cannot be achieved until all heads of companies become fully research-minded, nor until adequate status is accorded to those responsible for research and development …".I should like to suggest a standard on which the Government should insist in this matter. Why should they not insist that they will not give money to companies which do not give proper status to their scientists? Why not use the pressure of money to modernise companies' attitudes to science and insist that their operations should be conducted by trained scientists? Then a development contract would be acceptable. I see enormous advantages in the F.B.I. scheme if only it were carried out, as it will be carried out, by a Labour Government.
§ Sir C. Orr-Ewing
I am trying to follow the hon. Gentleman's argument. I know that he is trying to be constructive. When he says that the Minister whom he envisages should be responsible for higher education should control research, does he mean that he should control research in universites or does he visualise him controlling research in industry as well?
§ Mr. Crossman
He would obviously be responsible in the last resort for the research councils. It should be possible to exert the degree of control required through those admirable bodies. The same would be done in industry. One would set up organisations through which one would control the spending. On the other hand, one would give the company the ability to run itself efficiently and to do a good job. Much of 54 this has been worked out, as the Zuckermann Report proved, in defence. After billions were lost, something was gained by working out how a development contract could be policed by a Government Department. I do not believe that this will be an insoluble problem, and I hope that we shall hear about it from the right hon. Member for Hall Green.
I want, finally, to return to the central problem. Our central problem is national revival—and first the halting of our decline, the halting of the flight of the scientists, which is a deadly symptom of decline. This can be achieved only by a complete revolution in our attitude to science in education and in industry.
In thinking of this, I cannot help going back to the 1930s when everybody wanted to defeat Hitler. We were all to blame. Very few people were right about this. We wanted little packets of defence. We were prepared to make this concession to rearmament and that concession to rearmament, but not on a scale which would upset our cosy freedom. As a result, when war came, by 1940 the millions of pounds which had been spent had been wasted. Of course, then, as now, there were the good things which had been done. We had the Spitfire and the Hurricane and we had radar, but we spent billions inadequately because we were too timid and prepared for the wrong war.
I suggest that our attitude to science and research in this peace-time struggle now has been the same. Our assistance comes in penny packets. We spare the money, but we fail to see the dimensions of the revolution, a revolution in which we have to have co-operation among universities and higher education and Government, on the one hand, and between industry and Government, on the other, a co-operation such as we have never had before. Above all, scientists who understand must be allowed to be fully consulted from the top to the bottom.
In 1940, we had an easy way out. Hitler made a physical attack upon us and we were forced by it to undertake the total reorganisation of the economy. We shall not have that easy way out this time—pray God—for we cannot have it in nuclear war. We have to will the revolution ourselves. We have to 55 carry through voluntarily this tremendous change which was forced on us in 1940. It is because we see no sign of recognition by the Government of the scale of the scientific revolution required that we shall go into the Lobby against them tonight.
§ 4.23 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary for Science (Mr. Denzil Freeth)
I begin by welcoming the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) to this annual science debate. There is also a newcomer on our side. My right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation will be replying to the debate on behalf of the Government, and I think that this is particularly fitting on at least two counts. One is that he will be able to deal with the problem of the scientific aid which this country gives to developing countries; and the other is that he was the chairman of a committee of Conservatives which produced a C.P.C. pamphlet on science in industry and which came out last November. The debate has now become a tradition and I, for one, rejoice that this is so.
The hon. Member for Coventry, East centralised his speech about two themes, but from the choice of those themes he covered the whole spectrum of research and development, from basic research in the laboratory, on the one hand, to its technological applications in industry, on the other. In the former case one thinks, of course, of the universities and those scientists who are pursuing knowledge for its own sake and who, in their laboratories, are today pushing back ever further the frontiers of knowledge. Now that almost the whole world has been explored by man, these people are the true frontiersmen of the twentieth century.
In this field, my noble Friend the Minister for Science has always adhered to one principle. It is a principle which we on our side of the Committee are certain is right. It is that in basic research one has to try to find the best men with the best ideas and to support them. This is a philosophy which underlies the research council concept which we have had in this country for a very large number of years. Of course, it is only the scientist who can advise the Minister 56 on what are the best ideas, and only the scientist in the same field as the person who is seeking public money to support its researches.
I emphasise this fact because if, from time to time, the research councils are criticised for having set their standards too high, it is a criticism which I, for one, do not bear too hardly. I admit that there is to this an essential corollary and it is that if the right man should, in fact, be supported there should be other forms of assistance available to the scientist to whom he can apply for support for his researches. The scientist who advises in and around Whitehall is no more infallible than the man in Whitehall, the man who, the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) once stated, knew best.
This is why I have always welcomed the fact that there are charitable foundations, industry and others to support research in this country. I do not believe that in a free society the financial support for research should come only from the Government. It should be considered one of those activities essential to civilisation the support of which is a co-operative effort by Government, by private individuals and by corporate bodies.
As I understand, the charge of the hon. Member is that the present level of the emigration of our leading scientists shows that the Government are not supporting the best men with the best ideas and that, for various reasons, such as insufficient pay at home, or inadequate technical assistance and facilities, or possibly lack of promotion prospects, far too high a proportion of our leading scientists are taking up posts overseas, and when we say "overseas", we mean America.
I think that we accept that it is part of our duty to export, if "export" is the right word, scientists and technologists and technicians to developing countries, particularly those in the Commonwealth, to help them raise their standards of living. It is a proud thing that this country should be in a position so to do; and in this context we are particularly fortunate to have my right hon. Friend to wind up the debate.
The hon. Member referred to the report issued by the Royal Society a few months ago. I accept it as a most valuable document. But emigration is not 57 a new development. The Advisory Council on Scientific Policy reviewed the situation a few years ago, though less extensively than the Royal Society's committee. However, the findings of the Advisory Council were in line with those of the Committee. My noble Friend has had the latter report examined, and has taken advice on it from various quarters.
My noble Friend and I would like to pay tribute to those who compiled it under the chairmanship of Sir Gordon Sutherland, the very eminent head of the National Physical Laboratory, and himself, incidentally, according to the criteria adopted by the Royal Society for the purpose of this report, for some years a permanent emigrant from this country when he held a distinguished scientific chair in the United States' University of Michigan. Hon. Members will have seen in the newspapers over the weekend reports of the new Director of the National Chemical Laboratory, at present a professor in the University of Virginia, and who was born and educated in New Zealand.
There is one more thing which I should like to say about the Royal Society's report. The estimates are for gross emigration and not net emigration, which has been found impracticable to assess. In addition, the report deals only with doctors of philosophy and university staff.
There is no doubt that there is considerable immigration into this country from the Commonwealth. I am told, for example, that more than 60 Fellows of the Royal Society were born and educated overseas, which is no less than 10 per cent. of the total number. Of course, the President of the Royal Society himself, Sir Howard Florey, one of our most distinguished scientists, came to this country from Australia.
It is by no means uncommon for professorships in this country to be filled either by Commonwealth citizens or by people who have gone from this country to serve abroad and who have then come back. At least four professors in chemistry and two in biology have come to us from Australia and New Zealand since 1952. There is another side to the coin of emigration.
As the hon. Member said, none of us would wish to prohibit people from going 58 and working overseas, particularly the young scientist who has just obtained his doctorate. But the serious fact revealed by the report is that in 1961 nearly 200 doctors of philosophy and members of university staffs took up permanent posts abroad. This is about 17 per cent. of the annual output.
We can, I believe, take some comfort from the fact that since 1958 the proportion of the intake lost in this way has been stable, and if anything it is today less than in 1957. The evidence suggests that there is a considerable offset to emigration to the Commonwealth but very little in the way of immigration of scientists to this country from the United States, to which in 1961 about 80 of these scientists left to take up permanent employment. I accept that this is a serious situation, but it is certainly not "leaving the country in droves," as the hon. Member for Coventry, East rather picturesquely suggested at the beginning of his speech.
Nor are we alone in this situation. American immigration statistics show that nearly all European countries, and, indeed, a good many others, are losing scientists to the U.S.A., and although it is true that our proportion of U.S.A. immigrant scientists is greater than the proportion provided by other European countries, I think that this is something of a tribute to our educational system.
The cause of this is obvious enough. The United States has a gross national income which is about seven to eight times that of this country. It has a population three times as big. The general standard of living of the professional classes there is higher. American industry is organised in very big units which can afford large research and development programmes and establishments. Nor must we forget the large American defence and space programmes.
The hon. Gentleman criticised the speech which my noble Friend made in another place on 27th February, but, in essence, what he said cannot be gainsaid. It is a fact that today, and probably for some years to come, the United States is, and will be unable to provide from its own educational system a sufficient number of highly qualified scientists to man the enormous demands of the American Government and industrial research and development programmes.
59 Indeed, the Royal Society, on the last page of its Report, quotes the National Science Foundation as saying:Since domestic institutions of higher education do not yet provide the country's needed annual aggregate of scientists, it would seem reasonable to assume that the American scientific community could continue to absorb foreign scientists at their present rate of entry for some time to come.This is true. I think that it is accepted by the hon. Gentleman, and I therefore do not think that he has grounds for criticising my noble Friend for stating this truth.
§ Mrs. Judith Hart (Lanark)
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that we have enough manpower to supply the industrial needs of other countries?
§ Mr. Freeth
If the hon. Lady waits she will hear me deal with the point that has come to her mind. It came to my mind, too.
This, naturally, creates a serious problem for all countries which are less rich than the Americans and whom the Americans can outbid, although I acknowledge that we have benefited, as the hon. Gentleman conceded, from the generous flow of American funds which has helped to finance research of great value to British science.
I do not think that it is true to say that my noble Friend ignored that side of this question, which deals with the problem of mitigating the present situation and making emigration less attractive.
§ Mr. Crossman
Is it the hon. Gentleman's view that "parasitic" is the best way of describing somebody who contributes generously to science? It is the word "parasitic" which is difficult to swallow.
§ Mr. Freeth
I have great respect for the hon. Gentleman, but I think that he should be the last to criticise someone else for an oratorical flight of fancy.
It is plainly obvious that we in this country cannot compete with the salaries or conditions which the United States can offer. We must also admit that we started with a handicap of two world wars, a longish period of economic stagnation between them, and six years of Socialist Government after 1945, which 60 the hon. Gentleman himself generously admitted was a major cause.
Also, during recent years since the war we have had to provide for a large increase in university population and in the numbers of people qualifying for university entrance, and today we are spending about ten times as much on university building as we were when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister took office. I do not think that a tenfold increase in six to seven years can be regarded as a lack of effort, and I do not think that it compares badly with the doubling proposed by the hon. Gentleman.
Next, there is criticism of university salaries. As the hon. Gentleman knows, these are being reviewed by the National Incomes Commission. Secondly, there is the amount of money which the universities have to spend in total, and here the Committee will recall that my right. hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury recently announced £16 million addition in grants for the universities in the next four years, and on the total grant provided for universities, possibly Wednesday's debate will be a better forum in which to go into detail.
Thirdly, my noble Friend has been looking at the assistance which the research councils give to university science, and I am pleased to announce that, with effect from the next academic year, the research councils will add to the awards made by them to postgraduate students undergoing research training an annual sum of £200 per student, payable to the university department concerned, as a contribution towards the incidental costs incurred in the training of these students, such as the provision of equipment, and so on. This will make available from next year an annual sum of about £800,000 for the university departments. I believe that this will considerably relieve the shortage of funds for incidental and minor expenditure in the science departments of the universities about which complaint has been made to me, and I expect to other hon. Members in the past.
That is its purpose, but I would add that the Government confidently expect that the universities themselves will not adjust the sum made available from 61 university funds to these science departments in any way which would result in this relief being reduced. I support what the hon. Gentleman said about getting co-operation between universities and industry and universities and research facilities in laboratories, and I was very pleased to learn a little while ago that five members of the staff of the National Engineering Laboratory, at East Kilbride, had been made honorary professors of the Royal Glasgow College.
The next thing we are doing is to consider extending the existing arrangements which enable certain scientists who have taken doctorates, and wish to go abroad to pursue research elsewhere for a year or two, to apply before they go for certain appointments such as research fellowships in the United Kingdom so that these can be taken up when they return from overseas. I believe that such an extension of our present practice may well make scientists less inclined to accept offers of permanent employment when they are overseas.
As the Committee knows, to attract British scientists and engineers now in North America there is a joint interviewing board of the Atomic Energy Authority and the Scientific Civil Service which interviews persons in North America for a wide range of fellowship posts, including posts in the experimental officer class. So far the numbers coming forward to the Board have been rising, as have the numbers who have been placed. Last year, nearly 250 people were interviewed in North America and 86 appointments were filled compared with 56 in 1961. I hope that both these trends will continue.
A further incentive to scientists to remain in this country is the growing size of our own national research and development effort, which I thought the hon. Gentleman rather decried. Here I think that the recent Report of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy contains heartening evidence of the progress of British science during the last few years. It is a pity that statistics refer mainly to sums of money, because money is a poor gauge of value in science. Indeed, it is as easy to waste public money on science as on almost any other subject, although I believe that in this country we get the best value possible for what we spend.
62 The tables on page 13 of the Report show that since my noble Friend has been responsible, in part or whole, for the nation's research and development effort, the total amount spent has more than doubled, from £300 million in 1955–56 to £634 million in 1961–62. I think that these figures are all the more impressive, because, viewed as a function of the gross national product, they represent a rise from 1.7 per cent. in 1955–56 to 2.7 per cent. in 1961–62, and we all hope that by the time the next triennial statistics are collected we shall have reached 3 per cent.
Among the most heartening figures shown in these tables is the one which the hon. Member himself quoted, the rise in expenditure by private industry in the last three years from £136 million to £213 million, a rise of over 55 per cent. I believe that this substantial increase reflects very great credit indeed upon the forward-looking management of a very large section of our industry, and I should like to pay great tribute to it.
But outside the defence sphere for which my noble Friend is not Departmentally responsible, Government expenditure on civil research has also substantially increased. The value of research financed by Government civil Departments and the Atomic Energy Authority in the last three years has risen from just over £64 million to just over £110 million, and that financed by the research councils from just under £18 million in 1958–59 to just over £29 million in 1961–62, while the cost of research actually carried out in the universities and technical colleges rose from just over £23 million to just over £32 million. Indeed research in the universities which s supported by the Research Councils has multiplied by a factor of about three since 1957. I believe that this is a very creditable performance indeed.
§ Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)
I do not want to denigrate the increase in the sums spent on research. I believe with all sincerity that in the case of the Atomic Energy Authority, and the research about which no one seems to get the truth, we ought to see that we are getting value for the money spent on that research, and that the Minister for Science should act as a co-ordinator of research and in some 63 cases help to direct it, assisted by any expert advice that he may need.
§ Mr. Freeth
It cannot be said that we are trying to bide information about the Atomic Energy Authority's programme. In recent years, there has been a successive widening of the amount of information released to hon. Members and the recent annual report of the Atomic Energy Authority contains a very large amount of information which I would willingly debate in full on another occasion.
§ Mr. Freeth
Because there is not time. It is however the contention of the hon. Member for Coventry, East and of the F.B.I. working group report that this volume should be further increased. The hon. Gentleman referred to the demand in the report for an increase of about £100 million per annum over the next three to five years in civil applied research and development. My colleagues and I naturally noted this recommendation with great interest. Of course it will be seriously considered. I think that hon. Members will be aware that the report itself recognised a limiting factor in the next three to five years must be the availability of qualified scientists and technologists, apart from any limitation in financial terms.
The report says that methods must be found of allocating State funds on this sort of scale to the support of civil applied research and development contracts on their merits. This illustrates one very important point, namely, the difficulty of identifying those research and development projects in industry which could be best supported by a deliberate drive of this kind.
Before I come on to the question of Government aid for applied research and technology, I should like to deal with, to my mind, one of the most difficult problems about civil basic scientific research. Of course there is the problem of producing sufficient scientists and technologists, and the size of the universities. This we shall debate in some detail on Wednesday. But I would say in reply to the hon. Member who talked of doubling the student population in the universities and colleges of advanced technology that over the next 10 years 64 between 1957 and 1967 we shall under a Tory Government have not done far off that with an increase in the university student places from about 85,000 to about 150,000. I think that the difference between us, taking past records against future promises, might be regarded as more marginal than decisive.
Here in the context of this debate I would merely like to point out that in the six years between 1956 and 1962 our annual output of qualified scientists rose by 60 per cent. and qualified technologists by 43 per cent. This is impressive, and the increase will go on.
A far more difficult problem is how one should deploy the nation's scientific effort. Certain disciplines for one reason or another become very popular. Perhaps it is more easy to get money for research in them. Certainly in the case of nuclear physics, for example, the Government have in recent years made substantial increases in the sums available for building and working facilities both for our national effort and in support of co-operative research facilities abroad. We have therefore first of all the problem of keeping a balance between say, nuclear physics on the one hand and biology on the other.
We have also the problem of how we should divide our total effort between international projects and international centres, on the one hand, and maintaining our own national education and research effort, on the other. I do not want to prejudge any of these issues, but it is in this context that I should like to refer, as I did last year, to the Committee sitting under the Chairmanship of Sir Burke Trend. The Government hope that they will have its report in the autumn, and that it will then be able to improve its own organisation to deal better with, for example, the two problems which I have mentioned and also the problem raised in the F.B.I. report about the allocation of State funds for the support of civil applied research and development projects.
§ Dr. Barnett Stross (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)
The hon. Gentleman mentioned biology. Does he agree that the whole future of the human race may depend on our common researches in molecular biology whereby it may be possible to improve the very quality of the human race? Can he say whether this is in his mind, and what priority is 65 being given to research in a field in which I think Britain is definitely leading?
§ Mr. Freeth
Support is being given to research into molecular biology at Cambridge and I have not yet had any report of dissatisfaction about the support which the Medical Research Council gives to it. Indeed, the Nobel Prizewinners from that laboratory when they appeared on television just after receiving their awards said some very kind and laudatory things about the Council.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian) rose—
§ Mr. Freeth
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for not giving way, because there is much more that I want to say.
The hon. Gentleman, when talking about the organisation of the office of the Minister for Science, made one or two interesting suggestions. I know that he will forgive me saying that they were not particularly new. He suggested that under the present system there was no way of trying to make a particular university a centre for research in a particular subject and rather gave the impression that all universities automatically tried to have departments in practically every subject. If one looks across the board one sees the special support given by the D.S.I.R. to seismology in Edinburgh and the special support given for meat research at Bristol University by the Agricultural Research Council, and the possibility in food research at Norwich. When one knows of the discussions going on about the possibility of making the new Sussex University a centre for theoretical astronomy in this country and the five centres for nuclear physics which we have I think that it will be seen that the development has not been quite so haphazard as the hon. Member wished to suggest. Indeed, I believe that my noble Friend is far better as a Minister for Science in relation to the universities and to basic research than he would be if he attempted to tell people what to do. I remember having an argument about that in each of our previous debates on the subject.
One of his main tasks is that of isolating the right problems and obtaining expert advice upon it. This is exemplified in the recent Report on the 66 problem of noise. Here I repeat my gratitude to Sir Alan Wilson and his Committee, who dealt with the problem. Hon. Members will recall an Answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) on 3rd July, which repeated my noble Friend's statement in another place. Hon. Members will not wish me to repeat it now, but I would say in this connection that on Friday I was privileged to be asked to open at the Building Research Station a new physics laboratory which cost over £400,000 and which will enable, among other things, research to increase on the problem of noise in buildings. This laboratory contains a combined unit, consisting of adjoining anechoic and reverberant chambers—in other words, one chamber without any echoes and one chamber with—which is unique in Western Europe. I believe that its completion and opening last week shows the Government's continual and forward-looking planning in the intensification and increase of their research effort in important fields, and the provision of new facilities.
I said earlier on that when we were dealing with basic scientific research the main problem was to choose first-class men with first-class ideas, and to support them. When, however, we come to the other end of the spectrum, that is, to applied science and technology, the problem is somewhat different. The nation still needs the first-class man, but it needs to be able to spend a great deal of money in order to support both the facilities that are needed and the army of supporting technologists and technicians.
One of this most important problems which we must first try to get clear is the rôle of Government in applied research and development in a free society. On the defence side the problem is fairly easy. The Government's military advisers state a requirement and the Government either do or do not award a development contract to develop that requirement. The problem is also easier where the public sector on the civil side is likely to be the main user. Then, again, valuable opportunities exist for British industry in the field of the new space technologies. I want to say a brief word about those 67 arising from the scientific space research programme for which my noble Friend is responsible.
I have just written to the various trade associations concerned about the opportunities arising from the scientific research programme, in connection both with the preparation of equipment designed by university and other scientists for flight in rockets and satellites and with the initial creation of the establishments of the European Space Research Organisation and its subsequent programme. Experimental equipment to be "flown" in space will be required first for our own sounding rocket programme, which is to become more sophisticated and diversified. Secondly, experiments will be flown in the Anglo-American co-operative satellite programme comprising the successors of the very successful Ariel satellite and, thanks to the maturing of another American offer, in large American "observatory" type satellites for which acceptance of British experiments has just started. Thirdly, experiments will be flown in E.S.R.O. sounding rockets and satellites.
The requirements of E.S.R.O. will comprise the initial equipment for various establishments and then a continuing programme partly of extra-mural contracts for sounding rockets, satellites and space probes. Here, also, Government, in a sense, is the ultimate user.
It is when we are dealing with private industry that the problem is very much more difficult. Relatively little basic research is either undertaken or financed directly by industry. This is reasonable, because a large part of it has to take place either in the universities or in Government research laboratories. On the other hand, industry undertakes a large amount of applied research and technological development, with the aim of increasing the company's profits with a new or improved product or process. Indeed, the 1961 Report of the F.B.I. on research in manufacturing industry suggested that about five-sixths of industry's research—apart from the aircraft industry—was expected to produce results "soon", as the report put it. It is therefore in the realms which lie between that the mean problems of Government action arise.
68 If a technological development is obviously going to be successful and profitable, industry will undoubtedly support it. Indeed, the successes of British industry show this to be amply true. It therefore follows that the realms in which Government support is canvassed for finance are realms in which projects are either very speculative or very long-term, or of doubtful profitability for industry and, possibly, for the nation. For the Government to support projects which industry considers not worthy of support must always be a somewhat haphazard use of the taxpayer's money.
But there is a role for Government in this respect. I do not think that it is quite as easy to identify, or possibly quite as large, as some people suggest. At the very applied end we have the National Research Development Corporation. Further back the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is the Government's main instrument. For some years there has been a joint committee of the N.R.D.C. and D.S.I.R. in order to make certain that no projects fall between the two. Then there are the Government-aided research associations, mentioned to a considerable extent by the Carr Report and the F.B.I. Report, but not by the hon. Member for Coventry, East today. Then there is the D.S.I.R. Annual Report, which came out only last week.
Each year the Government make more money available to the research associations. It has been suggested on many fronts that this is not enough, but we have to remember that the research associations exist for the benefit of the industries which they serve and if there is to be any profit at all, that profit goes, first and foremost, to the companies which are members of those associations. If the support for an association is too small it is worth asking whether or not industry really believes that membership of the association is either worth while or profitable. It is no use a company's regarding its subscription to a research association as yet another item on its charity list. If industry does not think that its work is of benefit it is worth asking oneself why the taxpayer should take over.
The aim of the Government contribution is to give an additional degree of flexibility to the research programme and also to enable more basic research to be undertaken than otherwise would be 69 carried out. I do not believe that the Government should give larger general grants unless industry does the same.
I agree with much that appears in the section of the F.B.I. Report concerning the research associations. I agree that in many cases amalgamations are desirable. I am happy today to announce yet another marriage, namely, the marriage between the Whiting Research Association and the Chalk, Lime and Allied Industries Research Association—commonly known as "CLAIRA". A possible alternative line of development for small research associations has been shown by the efforts of the British Hat and Allied Felt Makers and the Gelatine and Glue Research Associations to develop into international centres of technological research. There is also a great future for research associations turning themselves into focal points of research in existing fields. That is why the Government have instituted not a substantial increase in general grants but a system of earmarked grants, given to support particular projects which have originated in research association laboratories. The Department has already received a number of applications, and I hope that the first of these grants may be announced shortly.
Of course, there are difficulties in applying this technique to industry, as the F.B.I.'s Report intimates. In the case of a civil development contract the company is obviously supplying part of the overhead costs of the projects, and will demand part of the profits. The Working Group's Report states that there should be civil development contracts where the Government are not the immediate purchaser. The hon. Member opposite considered that that should be the case. I can say that my noble Friend and I pretty fully accept the ideas in this section of the Working Group's Report, but what does worry us is that the Report seems to ignore the fact that the Government have already authorised the D.S.I.R. to conclude, in the civil field, development contracts of this type. Three have already been awarded.
I fully realise that if the Working Group was ignorant of this fact—and I have found industrial associations which were so ignorant—part of the blame must lie at my door. I would, 70 however, remind the Committee that I emphasised the availability of these contracts in my speech of 12th July last year and I would re-emphasise that again. I hope that D.S.I.R. will receive many more applications. At the present time it has 15 of them under examination and an encouraging flow of inquiries.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
Could the hon. Gentleman just state in what industries the three are and what is the total value of the amounts?
§ Mr. Freeth
Perhaps my right hon. Friend will give that, as I have not got the figures so clearly in my head that I feel I could give them without fear of being inaccurate.
The first part of the F.B.I. Working Group's Report was addressed to industry. If I may say so, I thought that the comments at the end were quite excellent, particularly in the emphasis laid upon the need for management to comprehend—this word appears several times—the benefits of research. The Government will have the job to try to help industry in this task of helping itself. The work of the liaison services of the research associations has been expanding in recent years, and I think that the special liaison grants for members have been an outstanding success. During this year the work of the seven regional technical information centres has been established and expanded.
Thirdly, in Scotland and Wales the work of the mutual assistance schemes has gone on, and I hope that this will further expand. Fourthly, in Scotland we have this year undertaken a new experiment whereby lecturers of the central institutions give up part of their time to liaison work in industry in order to evoke in firms a greater awareness of the benefits of research and development and how the results of both can help them. We are now exploring the possibility of extending the system south of the Border.
Finally, I would mention the National Science Lending Library which my noble Friend opened earlier this year.
There is one major point not touched on by the hon. Member for Coventry, East and which to my mind is a very important one indeed. It is the fact that 71 we are not training sufficient technologists, and the allied fact that technology is today not sufficiently attractive to the student with first-class brains as are the arts and science. Dr. Bowden, of the Manchester College of Technology, stated this to be a fact in a recent paper and said that far fewer first-class brains in this country studied technology than was the case with our industrial competitors in Europe. This is confirmed by a recent study made by the Oxford Department of Education of the attitude of sixth form boys towards technology. Again, although there is an overall shortage of university places, the vast majority of the vacancies which exist each October exist in the engineering departments, and failures in engineering are, I regret to say, larger, percentage-wise, than failures in other subjects.
This, of course, was something which used not to be. In the nineteenth century everybody knew the names of Stephenson and Brunel. Today people do not know the names of our great engineers, nor do they seem to have the magic they had a century ago. Almost every child could tell the name of the scientist who runs the Jodrell Bank telescope. Few people indeed could tell the name of the engineer who, in collaboration with Sir Bernard Lovell, designed and built it. I know that the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) can.
§ Mr. Freeth
I think there are a number of reasons for this state of affairs. I think part is the lack of knowledge in the schools of what a career in technology can mean. I think that industry has a part to play in welcoming, and indeed in suggesting, as in many cases forward-looking firms do, visits by groups of sixth and fifth form boys and girls to engineering works. I think that this would be a form of enlightened self-interest, as a measure for providing technologists, by industries in emphasising the contribution which technologists have made to their products and to British exports, to British wealth, and company profits.
72 Of course, the Government have a part to play, too. One of the main ways is by increasing the number of research studentships in technology, and I am pleased to announce that the D.S.I.R. has this year offered 100 additional studentships, an increase of about one-third. It will also be able to augment, in the academic year which begins in October, the number of awards which it can offer for advanced technological training by a figure of 190 at a total cost in a full year of £100,000. This is the Government's response to a very welcome increase in demands for such awards this year.
Before I close I should mention one other point. The Committee will remember that in a speech a year ago I announced the setting up of a Committee under Mr. Feilden on the subject of engineering design. I regret that it has not proved possible to publish his report in time for this debate, but it will be published later this week. I should like to take this opportunity of paying public tribute to Mr. Feilden and the members of his Committee. I think that hon. Members will find their report of immense interest. In a few months we shall also have the report of the Robbins Committee on Higher Education, and about the same time the Government will have the Trend Report. With the Reports of these three Committees we shall, I believe, be in a unique position to shape the scientific and technological efforts of this country for a generation. My noble Friend and I look forward to reading them, and we are looking forward to the constructive work which will follow from them.
The hon. Member for Coventry, East suggested that the way to solve this whole problem was to give priority to education and to research and development. I accept that those are his views. Quite frankly, as one reads the record of the debates in the Committee of Supply which occur with almost embarrassing frequency at this time of year one notices that on each occasion the Opposition spokesman demands an absolute priority for the subject which is then under discussion, whether it is housing, health, roads, or the development districts of high unemployment. It is impossible to give total priority to all of these. In fact any Government have got to decide 73 how much they will devote to them and how to divide it between all the competing claims, for which it is very easy indeed to state an interest. I do not feel that the hon. Member and his hon. Friends in this as much as in any other field, are likely to solve these problems I have outlined to the Committee more efficiently than will my noble Friend and his colleagues. The opportunities which will occur after publication of the three Reports in the latter part of this year, and the opportunities for taking decisions afterwards are opportunities which, I hope, there will be still a Conservative Government here to take.
§ 5.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
The closing words of the Parliamentary Secretary have thrown out a certain challenge to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) and to my other hon. and right hon. Friends. We happen to believe that there should be a high priority for higher education, for research and technological development, because these are the very basis of the expansion of our economy, to which my hon. Friend, in a very notable speech, referred—the very basis of the revival on which this country is going to depend. On this expansion depends the amount we can spend on housing, health and the other social services.
The Parliamentary Secretary's speech was a mixture. It started off—I thought it was going on continuously—with a sort of apologia. He spent so much time trying to explain away his noble Friend's remarks about the American education and the loss of British scientists, that I thought he was never going to get down to the rest of the subject. When he did get down to it he gave us what in a foreign affairs debate would be called a tour ďhorizon. Although it was full of a number of welcome details such as the grants to university science departments for technical aid, the welcome birth of C.L.A.I.R.A. after a shotgun marriage—
§ Mr. Denzil Freeth
Just for the record, C.L.A.I.R.A. is one of the parties to the marriage. She is not the product.
§ Mr. Albu
I see. I had not fully followed that. I am sure it is a very important step forward in the arrangements we are making for scientific research.
74 I want to deal with three subjects. First, I want to deal with the machinery for dealing with scientific decisions at the top level, which was dealt with by my hon. Friend and also, towards the end of his speech, by the Parliamentary Secretary. Secondly, I want to deal with some problems of medical research which have not been referred to so far in the debate, and thirdly, I want to say something about the machinery for raising the technological level of British industry to which reference has already been made.
As to the machinery for making decisions at top level, we are looking, as in so many other fields of Government policy, for outside advice. We are waiting for Trend, for Robbins, for Fielden, for Plowden and for "Nicky". It seems to me that a good deal of the things which many of these committees are finding out ought already to be available to Ministers and that decisions on them could be taken. There has been enough published advice on this subject which shows a great deal of dissatisfaction with the Government's administration of science and technology, not only among hon. Members on this side of the House and their friends but also among hon. Members opposite.
It cannot be said that the publication by the Conservative Political Centre, for which I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) was largely responsible—it was produced under his chairmanship—displayed satisfaction with the present machinery of Government or with what was being done in these fields. I should be glad to hear what the right hon. Gentleman has to say when he winds up. Nor can it be said that the Report of the F.B.I., which may owe a lot to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), was uncritical of the Government.
All these reports and all the opinions one hears outside are in sharp contrast to the views expressed by the Minister for Science and to which my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East referred. These views seem to me to be much more in the tradition of the Conservative Party's history during most of the 19th century when it inherited the mantle of 19th century Liberalism with its laissez-faire attitude towards policy in the economic and social fields. It seems to 75 me that the noble Lord, while recognising the increasing part which Government financial support for scientific research is bound to play, fears so much that this will corrupt the scientists that he is unable to take any action at all But most countries have supported scientific work and research for at least the last century and there is no evidence to support the views which the right hon. Gentleman appears to hold. It is, of course, the case that too great a concentration on problems concerned with defence, which is, I regret to say, happening in most industrial countries at present, may have a corrupting influence, but this concentration is not a concomitant of Government support for science.
What does follow from this support for scientific research, and this has been referred to both by my hon. Friend and by the Parliamentary Secretary, is the necessity for some means of deciding what research to support and how to support it. It seems to me that in the noble Lord's mind there is a confusion between the danger of the denial of freedom to the scientist to report freely his findings, and this is a dangerous matter in defence matters as well as under authoritarian régimes, and some degree of control over these areas of research which ought to be encouraged and supported.
It seems that we all agree that some degree of control over the areas of research to be supported is both inevitable and welcome. It seems also to me that the noble Lord's attitude downgrades the prestige of applied research—for instance into such matters as the discovery of new materials, the development of nuclear power or, for instance, the curing of cancer—and also that of objective basic research in support of the development of new processes, materials and products. This is in contradiction to what the Parliamentary Secretary said and what the noble Lord has also said about the danger to this country of its attitude to applied research and technology. Nevertheless, the Minister for Science seems to persist in this attitude.
How are we to decide in these matters of scientific policy? It is very strange that while decisions in other fields, for 76 instance, economic and social, are more and more supported by a scientific inquiry and statistical analysis, decisions in the field of science and technology remain at an intuitive and empirical level. This is to be seen not only in Government circles but also in industry and in commerce outside. One has only to read the unhelpful article in the Economist this week on the development of nuclear energy to realise how almost emotionally empirical such comments can be. Attention is drawn to this in a very interesting memorandum privately circulated by Dr. Stephen Toulmin who is the director of the Nuffield Research Unit in the History of Ideas. It is entitled "The Foundations of Scientific Policy". He points out that we already have a very high powered scientific policy body, the A.C.S.P. but that it is a sort of pre-Keysian body, a committee of bankers and merchants rather than of professional economists.Its members are busy men with full-time jobs as heads of important scientific laboratories administrators of research councils, or in industry: they are, indeed, chosen specifically for their practical working acquaintance with science and technology. As a result, their recommendations are inevitably based on a comparison of 'shop floor opinions' rather than on any coherent analysis. In accordance with a well known British prejudice, this is sometimes presented as the great virtue of the system. Meanwhile, for lack of any profound analysis of the factors involved, we remain largely in the dark about the 'mechanics' of scientific and technological growth. To many people, accordingly, it still seems that intellectual and technical advances either take place spontaneously and unpredictably"—and this, I believe, is the noble Lord's view—or else are at the mercy of some 'climate of opinion', compounded unanalysably from intellectual, psychological, social, and economic variables—like the old-time all-purpose economic concept of 'business confidence'.The result of all this is that decisions on scientific policy are still taken in a somewhat rule of thumb way. This, it seems to me, is an impossible situation in an era when the very rate of growth of scientific discovery means that we are now compelled for the first time to select those areas which we can afford to follow up and deliberately leave others without support. Dr. Toulmin's suggestion is for a Research Institute for the Foundation of Scientific Policy on the lines of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research; attached to a university and supported by public funds.
77 I am very much in favour of this idea and I hope that the Government will give it serious consideration. But we cannot wait for its findings before we have a radical reform of the Ministry of Science on the lines suggested by my hon. Friend.
I would particularly like to emphasise that in our view a great deal of these decisions particularly in the applied and technological fields must follow an economic analysis on which the Government's economic policy must be based.
I turn now to the problem of medical research. I think that there is general agreement that funds are inadequate in this field, but this is not the whole trouble. I have found many medical research workers who have an ambivalent attitude towards the Medical Research Council, but the one thing on which they all agree is that it has been imaginative and far-seeing in some of the men and work which its supports. This is demonstrated by the imposing record of Nobel Prize winners which it has backed. But they find in it a certain stuffiness. They have a fear of a small monopoly body concerned both with bargaining with Ministers and civil servants and with relations with universities. They fear this body as being the one source of advice for all these purposes. It has been suggested that the Medical Research Council and is administration should be enlarged and departmentalised into sub-divisions and that there should be a separation of the function of getting funds and of general administration from the job of framing policy for the distribution of grants. In the case of the latter—that is to say, the distribution function—the medical secretary should have the assistance of senior members of the different branches of the profession who would maintain contact with the developments and needs of universities and research units throughout the country.
One of the problems about medical research, and particularly about the Medical Research Council, is the relationship with the universities. In the last few years the Council has developed a policy of supporting a line of work for three years and then expecting the university to take it over. This overlooks the fact that universities are entirely independent in the allocation of 78 the funds which they receive from the University Grants Committee.
Medical research in universities suffers from two factors. The first is the tendency among clinicians, including clinical professors, to despise research workers. This, of course, is a common feature in many professions in this country, for there is a tendency on the part of those who practise to despise those who do research. This is particularly serious in medicine.
The second arises from the fact that the Government are the main employers of doctors. The number of students who need to be admitted to the medical faculties can be estimated—and in the past it has been underestimated. In 1960–61 the medical students represented only 8 per cent. of the total students in universities. This low figure supports the resentment in universities at the size of, and the amount of money required by, the medical faculties, apart altogether from the salary question, which also causes a certain amount of resentment. This leads to resistance to increasing the research grants which have to come out of the general grant made to universities.
All these factors are, I believe, harmful to the development of medical research, and they form one of the causes for much of the serious emigration of medical research workers to the United States. This is a difficult problem on which I should like to make one or two suggestions. The first is that we need a university research council as part of the method of giving grants for medical research and other research. Secondly, the Government in some way should build and endow small but antonomous medical research institutes within the precincts of teaching hospitals. I emphasise the word "autonomous", because they should not come under the Medical Research Council.
Another important means that should be used to increase the incentive for the best men to stay in this country and to continue in research, which applies not only to medicine but to other fields as well, would be to increase the number of professorships and not confine these just to heads of departments; one could use these posts simply as university grades, as they are in the United States and as they are becoming in some universities in this country already.
79 The third subject with which I want to deal is the basic subject of raising the technological level of British industry and ensuring that we remain in the technological forefront. This, after all, is the foundation of everything else, without which we shall not achieve the economic expansion and without which we shall not be able to give any reality to the social programme which the Parliamentary Secretary mentioned or do any of the other things which we all think are desirable.
There is a clear inference in the F.B.I. report that many firms, both large and small, are not able to take advantage of the results of research. The Parliamentary Secretary referred to this. It is because, as the F.B.I. pointed out, the heads of the firms are not research-minded, and this is because a large number of them have no qualifications either in science or in engineering. Indeed, many of them have no higher education at all. We have, I suppose, among our industrial leaders some of the most uneducated in any advanced industrial country in the world. This does not mean that we have not a number of well-known firms, some large and some small, with highly-educated directors, but the truth of the matter is that a large part of our industry is virtually uneducated.
There is no immediate answer to the problem of how to deal with the firms to which the F.B.I, has referred. I agree with the F.B.I. suggestion that they must be by-passed, even if this means discrimination in favour of other individual companies in the support which we give. This is clearly recognised in their evidence to the Trend Committee, which is published in the F.B.I. report.
As the F.B.I. has now said, and as many of us on both sides of the House have been saying for many years, we need a much more energetic policy of civil development contracts to advance new technologies and not simply to help lame dogs. This means that a contract must be given to the firm or organisation best able to undertake the development, even if the firm does not happen to be within the industry with which the project is concerned. A great deal of engineering research and development can be undertaken by any well-equipped 80 organisation—and I do not mean only well-equipped in buildings and plant, but also well-equipped in scientists and technologists. In fact, this is the way in which we should be able to use the teams built up for defence purposes as defence research and development expenditure is reduced.
Since I last spoke on this subject I have come to support the view that the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research should be divided. The problem of placing development contracts in industry and of getting greater technological drive in management requires an entrepreneurial approach which is quite different from that of many research directors, although we all know some who have it. I would go further than the F.B.I. First of all, I believe that wherever suitable, which is in practically every case, Government research units should be attached to the appropriate Ministries, which is a reversal of the policy decided on just after the war. This, I believe, would not only improve the general scientific outlook of the Departments themselves, but would also and, at the same time, raise the status of the chief scientists or chief engineers in the Departments and ensure that they had adequate support when they were putting forward their views. I also believe that no major policy decision should be taken by a Minister without the chief scientist or chief engineer being present at the discussion. Their views should not be heard only at secondhand via the administrative civil servants.
Secondly, I believe that research associations or research units concerned with manufacturing industry should be the responsibility of a Ministry for industry and technology, or at least a much more powerful industrial section of the Board of Trade. Perhaps the best idea, however, would be to base such a department on the existing Ministry of Aviation, recreating the old Ministry of Supply, which was an admirable Department for carrying out this sort of work. I believe that it should be responsible for the National Research Development Corporation and it might well be for consideration whether it should be responsible for the reactor and engineering divisions of the Atomic Energy Authority, although these would possibly be better placed under the Ministry of Power. There is a case for looking at the 81 organisation of the Atomic Energy Authority and seeing whether it would be an advantage to divide the research from the reactor development.
Such a Ministry or such a Department would have to work very closely with the National Economic Development Council which would have the job of identifying the areas of the greatest economic potential for this country's future. Acting within this general guidance, I believe that such a Ministry should be assisted by a strong group of technologists and economists who must be working on the job at least half of their time and who cannot just be advisers meeting only once a month. It would be their job to seek out projects to support and firms or research units with which to place such projects.
These technologists should not be research scientists but men trained in the scientific habit of thought who have begun to achieve success in industrial management or the direction of research in a technically advanced firm or Government organisation. I say "begun to achieve success" because we want men of a suitable age—I will not mention any age—who still have the drive, energy and imagination to carry out this sort of work. They must meet at least several days a month and must be supported by a strong secretariat.
As a result of their work, development contracts should be placed wherever they can best be carried out, including Government establishments and not excluding defence establishments. I strongly support the view of my hon. Friend about the defence research establishments and the need to make use of them as the expenditure on defence research falls. I have in mind bodies such as the Royal Aircraft Establishment, or the Royal Radar Establishment, and others.
It may be that some industrial research associations would be suitable for development contracts of this sort, and this might be a better method of giving support to them than a grant matched to the industrial contributions, particularly in associations covering a number of industries, none of which feels responsible for supporting them.
Another suggestion has been put forward by one or two of the colleges of advanced technology. It is that when 82 the colleges are rebuilding on their new sites, as some of them are, they should have a sort of industrial estate on the perimeter round the colleges in which, with some Government assistance, advanced types of factories in which development contracts could be placed should be established. This would have the double advantage of starting up new industries based on development contracts and having them in close association with a teaching institution. Some of the basic research could be done in the colleges and some of the people working on the development contracts in the firms, would help by teaching in the colleges. This would maintain that connection between colleges and industry which is so essential.
I realise that by suggesting this removal of the industrial research and development side of D.S.I.R's work from the Minister for Science, I am open to the criticism that I am suggesting that we should break the continuum between pure and applied research and thereby continue, and even enlarge, the present lower prestige in which applied work and technology are held compared with pure science. I do not think that this is so, but I think that it would still be necessary to have overall co-ordination and advice on this subject. In my view, the Minister for Science should chair a top-level committee covering all the Departments, including the Defence Departments, with substantial; scientific and technological interests. We need a new attitude to this problem. I do not think we shall get it if we rely on a Minister for Science mainly concerned, or largely concerned, with pure science and granting funds for scientific research.
What we are envisaging now is a radically new technico-economic operation which involves national planning and Government intervention to encourage innovation and expansion on an unprecedented scale. After what has been published both by the Conservative Party and by the F.B.I., as well as after the speeches we have had during the last two or three years from hon. Members on both sides of the House of Commons, I had expected from the Parliamentary Secretary a much greater realisation of what is now being demanded. I found no such realisation. He seemed to have no comprehension of what is needed. 83 What we are now doing seemed to him to be quite good enough; we are to go on just as we are, with a few changes here and there and with a few extra hundred thousand pounds given here and there. His attitude was that it would all come out all right. The Parliamentary Secretary has not begun to understand what it is that is causing so much criticism in all parts of British scientific and industrial life, not only in the House of Commons. I do not therefore think that it will be possible for the Government to make the changes that are needed; they will have to be left for another Government to carry out.
§ 5.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Aubrey Jones (Birmingham, Hall Green)
The hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) towards the end of his speech saw some correspondence between the speech I made in the science debate two years ago and the recent report published by the F.B.I. He went so far as to suggest that I might possibly have been the author of the F.B.I. report. Any influence that I have exercised on the F.B.I, report is extremely indirect. I gave evidence to the F.B.I. Committee. I submitted my views. I was able to comment on its draft. For the rest, if there is indeed any correspondence between anything I may have said and the F.B.I. report, I can only regard it as one of those fortuitous favours which occasionally lighten the lonely path of the pioneer. Naturally, I am duly grateful.
The hon. Member for Coventry, East made a plea for a great expansion in the volume of our expenditure on research and development. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for Science replied by pointing to the quite considerable increases which have taken place over the last five or six years. Both are right. The figures are, on the surface, most impressive. There has been an increase of about 8 per cent. or 9 per cent. a year, making our expenditure on research and development equivalent to about 3 per cent. of our gross national product, a similar ratio to that existing in the United States. The hon. Member for Coventry, East is quite right in saying that this is still inadequate for our needs because, as I see it, this country faces 84 certain economic problems not faced by other countries. For instance, we have a stationary labour supply. Then, possibly the most formidable of all, we have limited exchange reserves, although we attempt to run an international currency. This limitation of the reserves always threatens to be an impediment to any sustained programme of capital investment.
These facts seem to me to indicate that, despite any comfort we may derive from the figures, we need to pay greater attention to innovation, to research and development, than other countries. None the less, I accept what my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary says, that the increase is such that the demands over the next few years may out-run the technological manpower available. For that reason, I do not want this afternoon to talk about volume. I suggest that the more important subject has become that of the pattern of our scientific effort. I want this afternoon to advance the broad point that the nature, or the pattern, or the distribution, of our scientific effort is not sufficiently related to our economic and commercial problems, and that what we need to do is to make our scientific effort more productive by securing a closer relationship between research, on the one hand, and economic application, on the other hand.
Take, for instance, defence research and development. It is sometimes said—it is the conventional thing to say—that defence research and development is good because it gives results of civil usefulness. This was true, but I suggest that it has become less and less true, or, rather, that our defence needs are becoming so specialised that the time interval between the undertaking of a piece of defence research and development and the emergence of results of civil usefulness is lengthening.
This is a problem which does not affect this country only. It is a problem which the United States are just beginning to appreciate. It is for this reason that any country which devotes a substantial part of its scientific effort to defence, as we do, is at a disadvantage compared with countries which direct their scientific effort much more closely to their economic problems. So I suggest that the gap between our defence scientific effort and economic usefulness is widening.
85 For this reason—here I join the hon. Members for Coventry, East and Edmonton (Mr. Albu)—we need to pay much greater attention to closing the gap which also exists between our civil scientific effort and its economic usefulness. Those who have spoken in the debate so far have referred to the classic illustration of this gap, the fact that in this country arts are "U" but science not so "U", and that within science pure scientists are "U" but applied scientists and technologists are not so "U". This is our problem.
In dealing with this problem the Government—and, I think, any Government, whatever their complexion—are in a peculiar difficulty. The problem is a problem of our social system. It is the bias in our social system. The scientific arrangements which the Government operate also reflect fee bias in the social system. Any Government are inevitably driven to defend the arrangements they run, but by defending them they make change much more difficult. I suggest that this is what is happening.
The hon. Member for Coventry, East referred to the recent book by my noble Friend the Lord President of the Council entitled, Science and Politics. The first chapter of the book gives a graphic description of the system as it now is. I will quote one or two sentences from it.The thinking behind the creation of these Councils"—that is, the Medical Council, the D.S.I.R. and so on; and I ask the House to note the following words:is to separate the activity of research from the executive business of Government and economic activity.In another part in the first chapter, after pointing out that all genuine science has its origin, in the intellectual curiosity of the free human spirit, the Lord President writes:I am tempted to speculate whether, in the end, the influence of an interest by Government … materially motivated will not obscure the very insights on which creative science is essentially based.In other words, as the hon. Member for Coventry, East pointed out, my noble Friend the Lord President is afraid lest increasing Government interest in science will kill the scientific spirit. I am sure that none of us wants to do that. However, I respectfully suggest that in 86 laying so much weight on this problem my noble Friend is laying eloquent emphasis on precisely the wrong problem.
The problem of politics is the perpetual and difficult search for a balance between liberty and authority. The problem of science is equally the perpetual and difficult search for a balance between research and application. In our case, the search for a balance requires a move in the direction of application.
It may be I do not know, that in the Soviet Union the desirable move is the other way round. It is possible that the Soviet Union should move more in the direction of greater freedom of fundamental research; but this is not our problem. In our case to oppose the abstraction of authority on the one hand, with the abstraction of complete freedom on the other, could result in inaction. This is a negation of government. Government is not a debate in abstractions; it is movement or action—and we must move in the direction of greater application. How are we to do it?
We in this country operate and, I think, will continue to operate, a free economic system. If we want to be an affluent society we must give a fair degree of freedom to individual consumers. This is affluence. It means, however, that a government cannot use private demand to determine a desirable pattern of research and development. A government must use its own demand, which at the moment is about 40 per cent. of total demand and, I suppose, is likely to go on increasing.
The hon. Member for Edmonton spoke of civil development contracts, which appertain mainly to private demand and not to Government demand. I have expressed my views on this in the past. I am all for expansion in this direction but, expand civil development contracts as we may, this instrument will always be subordinate or subsidiary to the instrument of Government demand. In this context of trying to make government demand push things more in the direction of application, I make three suggestions.
First, I agree with the hon. Member for Edmonton that we must reverse the tradition by which, to quote the Lord President, we… separate the activity of research from the executive business of Government and economic activity.87 We must build up scientific units within the executive organs of government and, in so far as the relevant work is now done outside in the D.S.I.R., little by little this must be brought back within the Executive organs. I will give two examples of this. I was struck some months ago when listening to the debate on Dr. Beeching's Report. The great question was what to do about the motor car. Some wanted to accept it and others wanted to confine it. I see the answer as being that we must accept the motor car but, in accepting it, we must recognise that we suffer in this country from much greater limitations of space than do other countries.
This presents a tremendous research and development problem. As far as I know there is no such thing as a scientific unit within the Ministry of Transport. There is only one Governmental unit remotely capable of handling this problem—and that is dealing with the fringes of it. It is the Road Research Laboratory, a department of the D.S.I.R. We need a scientific unit to deal with the essentials of the problem within the Ministry of Transport and, as that is created, the Road Research Laboratory should be moved to it.
My second example is that of education; and the hon. Member for Coventry, East emphasised this. In the first industrial revolution we had a small educated elite and a large working class to operate the machines. We are now moving into the age of automation. We now need a large educated class capable of feeding problems into the machines, which then work themselves. This requires an explosive expansion of our education.
As a rough measure of what we need today I believe I am right in saying that 1 per cent. of our population enjoys a three-year university course. In the Soviet Union 3 per cent. of the population enjoys a five-year university course. This is an enormous problem. We shall never have enough teachers to match it and this means that we must do a great deal of research and development into educational techniques and devices; and the construction of programmes for feeding into new devices. I agree that we have research going on in the Ministry 88 of Education, but I doubt whether it is nearly adequate to the scope of this gigantic problem.
Secondly, the Government in general or, possibly, the Treasury in particular, should abandon the practice by which it buys equipment such as computers on the open market—off the shelf at the lowest possible price. This is a relic of the mercantile age. What research and development does to industry is to lengthen the time scale over which economic calculations are made. What is profitable today does not necessarily make for profit tomorrow. Industry must look forward in time.
If the scientific age imposes this on industry it must equally impose it on the Government. It means that what it cheap today will not necessarily be so tomorrow. The Government which today buys computers off the shelf at the lowest possible price may be failing to develop a computer technology and may, therefore, be impairing their revenue in the long term. The Government also must look forward in time, particularly from the point of view of their buying policy.
My third suggestion concerns the universities and I appreciate that I am treading on hallowed ground. In the United States the Government—both their defence departments and their civil departments—place research contracts with universities. We scarcely do that and I suggest that we should. I have no doubt that we will encounter resistance from the universities. They will say that if they receive money for contracts from the Government that will determine the direction of their scientific effort. The real answer to this is that even in universities the research which is actually concerned with pushing back the frontiers of knowledge is limited. Few people are pushing back these frontiers. Much the greater part of even university research is concerned with application. What I suggest we should be out to do is to make the connection with application a little closer and a little more direct. Nobody wants to see the Government wholly determine the pattern of university research but, equally, it would be wrong to see university research too divorced from application. We ought to try to secure a balance.
89 That is all I want to say about the Government as a buyer, about Government Departments buying from a private economic system, and I want now to turn to the question of the central Government organisation for science, because this is, I suppose, the main subject under consideration by Sir Burke Trend's Committee, which has been referred to by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary. I hope that other speakers will comment on this subject, because it would be nice to think that the House of Commons was, for once, returning to its historic function of playing a part in the shaping of a decision to be made, and not just tramping through the Division Lobbies, "yea-ing" and "nay-ing" decisions that are, in fact, beyond alteration.
We have, as we know, a Ministry for Science—the emphasis is on the word "for". I thought that the hon. Member for Coventry, East gave quite a fair interpretation of the philosophy behind this concept of the Ministry for Science. That concept is, as I understand it, that the Government should aid, should encourage, should promote science, but that it should play a minimal part, the very slightest part, in determining the direction in which science ought to go. I believe the conclusion to be irresistible that the Government must play a much larger part in determining the direction in which science should go than was conceded four years ago, when the Ministry for Science was established.
I have two reasons for believing that. The first is that, as we have heard this afternoon, it looks as though over the years to come our scientific demands will outrun the scientific resources available. Demand and resources need to be matched, the Government must try to match them and in doing so, inevitably, to a certain extent, determine the direction in which science goes.
Secondly, I think that we have a problem of balance in our scientific effort—a balance between the defence effort and the civil effort, a balance between research and application, a balance between one industry and another. There is only one body to do anything in the way of attempting to secure that balance, and that is Government. For these reasons, I believe that we need much more than a Ministry for Science—aiding, promoting, and encouraging science. We 90 must have a Ministry "of" Science and, since the problem is one of balance, that Ministry of Science should be concerned both with academic science and industrial application—as, indeed, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is at this moment.
What should this Ministry of Science be? That is a difficult question. Leaving aside all the details and trying to come to the essentials, we have a choice between two courses. We can have, as now, a very small Department—a "bus load of staff" as we have heard it described—and try to strengthen it with a hierarchy of advisory councils. We could strengthen the Lord President of the Council's Advisory Council on Scientific Policy, try to make its composition a little less academic, and have under it, as the F.B.I report suggested, a steering board for industry.
That is ore possibility, and that would be perfectly all right if the problem were only one of apportioning resources between one part of science and another and one industry and another, but the problem is much more than that. The problem is one of improving communication between one part of the scientific spectrum and another; in other words, it is a problem on infusing technology with science and science with technology.
I do not believe that this can be done through the medium of advisory committees which are, after all, collections of private individuals, not served by a working staff, and operating only an policy in its broad generality. This work of infusion, of informing science with technology and technology with science, can be done only at the working level; in other words, it can be done only by a staff, with the advisory councils ancillary to the staff and not the staff ancillary to the advisory councils, which is what we would have if we merely attached one or more advisory bodies to the existing Ministry of Science. We need, then, a staff, and I agree with the hon. Member for Edmonton that there is only one place where the staff is available, and that is in the Ministry of Aviation.
I therefore return to the thought that has been in my mind, which came into my mind some six years ago, and which the passage of the years has not really shaken—that what we really need is a marriage of the scientific functions of the 91 Ministry of Aviation with the scientific functions of the Lord President of the Council, or if hon. Members prefer it, the functions of the Minister for Science, so that we create a new Ministry of Science and Technology—and I emphasise the word "technology"—with a wide remit, of which the doing of research and development for the defence Services is only part and, I hope and believe, a diminishing part.
I know that many people will recoil from that suggestion, I am perfectly well aware of all the difficulties, but I have been driven to adhere to this proposal because of the very nature of the problem we face. The problem of science in this country is the bias in the social system. What we did four years ago when we established the Ministry for Science was to defer to that bias and, by deferring to it, we made it much more difficult to escape from it.
In whatever sphere it may be, whether it be science or anything else, if we are confronted with a deep-seated social attitude that is out of accord with the times, the only thing to do is to make a bold organisational change which will give a powerful push in the opposite direction. That is what was needed four years ago, to my mind, we still need it, and the Trend Committee may give what may possibly prove to be a final chance of doing something about it. I hope that this time we shall take it.
§ Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)
Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, I should like to ask him whether he will follow the logical outcome of a very interesting contribution by joining us in the Division Lobby tonight.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ Mrs. Judith Hart (Lanark)
I remember hearing the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) speak in the first of our science debates three years ago, and I remember being just as impressed then as I have been this evening by what he had to say. It is a pity, in a way, when we had a tremendous challenge thrown down to the Parliamentary Secretary by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Grossman) that we had to wait 92 before the glove was picked up, as it were, by the right hon. Gentleman, who took it up only to show how much he agreed with all that had been said in the making of the challenge.
It is unfortunate, perhaps, that the Parliamentary Secretary does not share the liking for philosophy that the noble Lord, his senior colleague, has. The noble Lord, I know, would very much enjoy picking up this challenge and tackling the philosophical issues behind it. If I may say so, the Parliamentary Secretary is very clever at side-stepping and what he did today, as he has done in other scientific debates, was to give us a long record of the ways, as he put it, in which the Government are trying to mitigate the various problems, without, however, coming to grips with the central issue, as my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East so clearly did, and as the right hon. Gentleman has equally done.
I remember that three years ago, when the right hon. Member for Hall Green suggested that there should be a merging of the technical side of the Ministry of Aviation into a strengthened Ministry of Science, that in that debate I suggested that there was a real need for bringing the activities of science into every Government Department. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman remembers it. I did not, however, formulate the suggestion in as precise a way as he did this evening.
Whether we are dealing with the problems of transport, education, housing, pensions and the demographic changes in population—whatever the Government's activity—there is a tremendous need for scientific examination of the issues and an acceptance of the facts and the collection of further facts if there are not enough. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that to do this effectively what is needed is the creation of units in each Government Department. I hope that later today we shall have serious comment from the Government Front Bench on this proposal. I hope that it will not be forgotten and left to be brought up again in another year by back benchers on both sides of the Committee.
I think that what the Office of the Minister for Science is suffering from at the moment—and the Parliamentary Secretary has found it difficult to get 93 away with today—is the sins of omission which are catching up with it. It is so easy for sins of commission, the bad things which the Government do directly and positively, to be seized upon and examined and for publicity to be given to them, so that everybody knows exactly what has gone wrong. But in science, and particularly in so far as we are concerned today with what is happening to so many of our brighter scientists which our universities have been producing, we are concerned not so much with something wrong that the Government have done, but with their failure to do a great many things which they ought to have done.
I feel that this results from the fact that the Government, in adopting the attitude of the noble Lord that the functions of a Department for Science is to create the conditions in which free scientific activity can flourish, have failed to see that science is right at the heart of all economic activity of the nation. In failing to do that, the Government have been misled by their own philosophical attitude towards the whole process of economic activity. If we are to say that science is at the centre of any prospect we may have of making an economic recovery, and that we cannot achieve any of the things which the N.E.D.C. says we should achieve unless we put scientific development and technological ideas at the centre of our planning programmes, we are faced with a series of logical consequences which lead us to the kind of intervention in the freedom of British industry which the party opposite conventionally and traditionally opposes. This is why there is this blockage in the Department for Science.
The philosophy of the noble Lord the Minister for Science is perfectly natural, as expressed in his book. It is a Conservative attitude towards science in the correct sense of that word "Conservative". We cannot expect the kind of view put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East today or even the kind of attitude which the right hon. Member for Hall Greeen proposes without also accepting responsibility to intervene in the economic processes of the nation and take planning to a stage which the party opposite cannot accept. It would be un-Conservative and out of keeping with Conservative philosophy if hon. Members opposite 94 were to have any other view. This needs to be made clear.
I remember once, on a previous occasion, being accused of introducing too much direct politics into a debate on science, but to me the process of politics today is inseparable from the process of science. I would say that it is impossible to conceive of a Government composed of right hon. and hon. Members opposite, whoever might lead them and whatever their new ideas, departing sufficiently from the general background of their philosophy towards science and economics to do anything more than a mere patching-up operation.
The most grave example of the Government's failure in this respect has been the emigration of scientists. I thought that the Parliamentary Secretary was a little superficial in his consideration of the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East. The Parliamentary Secretary said, first, that American education is so much worse than ours that we must accept the fact that the Americans need our scientists. He said to me later that he would be discussing whether or not we could spare them, but he never did so. He also said that we had to consider the net rates of emigration and immigration.
The hon. Gentleman went on to paint a little picture, on a very unreliable canvas. He said that we know certain things about the scientists who emigrate but not about those who immigrate and therefore we could assume that the figures balanced that all was well. This was the most unscientific assessment of the situation one could possibly have. It reminds me of Dr. Beeching's comments on the railways. I remember equally being shocked when Dr. Beeching, to put the record straight, explained that if he had been asked to carry out a survey of the roads similar to that of the railways he knew—before carrying it out—that he would have been even harsher on the railways.
This tendency on the part of those concerned with science and scientific problems to set up an experiment and predetermine the result is quite extraordinary. This is what the Parliamentary Secretary was doing with the figures which he produced today. The report of the Royal Society makes clear a point which was not touched upon by 95 the Parliamentary Secretary. It is not only a question of numbers. There can be some degree of uncertainty about numbers but what is more important is the quality of the people emigrating.
The Royal Society's report says:The fact that all the emigrants discussed here had a Ph.D degree means that they belong to an élite fraction of our university graduates. Several heads of departments have remarked … that we seem to be losing an unduly high proportion of our best people.In the sums which the Parliamentary Secretary did we did not know the figures of those who immigrated. We can only assume that they were sufficient to balance those who emigrated, but the hon. Gentleman made no reference to quality. We are losing the people who should be the spearhead of university research in so many crucial fields for the next ten, twenty, or thirty years.
The reasons why we are losing them have been indicated already today. I want to refer to some of the extraordinary comments which were made in correspondence, mainly in The Times, in January and February this year which followed the revelations about how many people were going abroad. I want to refer not only to what was said but to the people who were saying these things, which is equally important. Professor Jones, Professor of Physics in the University of London, had this to say:Not only do about 12 per cent. of new Ph.D.s go abroad, but it is the most adventurous, energetic and gifted who do so. The loss of Britain is thus far more serious than mere numbers suggest.The writer went on to say that one of the reasons why they chose to go to America was that in BritainIn many fields they will find themselves frustrated in their work also, unable to acquire the research equipment which they need. If they return … to industrial posts here they will be shocked at the contrast in outlook, at the tentative attitude towards undertaking forward-looking research and towards application of the results of such research.Those words were written by a professor of physics at London University.
Somebody who is now a member of the staff of the University of Ottawa, a member of the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science, said:Many British universities are hierarchical in structure and intensely conservative. Research facilities and prospects of advancement for junior staff are often very poor 96 indeed. After the freedom of opportunity found in North America the pill is often too bitter to swallow.A group of people who are working in the United States at the moment say:We submit that the departure of so many British scientists for the United States is not due to any act of theft by the United States, but is due to an act of neglect on the part of Britain. The important difference between the two countries is not to be found in the respective merits of their educational systems but in the extent of facilities provided for the employment of the scientists which they produce.They go on to say:May we suggest that rather than blaming the United States, the Minister for Science should put his own house in order.These are statements made by some of the people involved. Another person who made a similar statement is the Vice-Chancellor of Manchester University; indeed, there is a whole host of eminent people.
The conclusions that these people drew were all exactly the same—that there was this scrabbling around for money for facilities and equipment, that there was this spending of so much time in trying to raise the money to support an additional research student so that the work could go on, that there was the desperation and struggling and, indeed, the need to limit possible extensions of research because of the limitations of accommodation. Heads of departments in Britain have told me that they could not extend their research although there were plenty of the first-class ideas and first-class people, of whom the Parliamentary Secretary has spoken, simply because they did not have any more cubic feet of space in which to put more people.
Equally important—and this is something which is a direct responsibility of the Government just as the other matters are—is the fact that there are no promotion opportunities. What is so urgently needed, if we are not to have even more of our best people going abroad, is the creation of more senior posts inside university departments so that a bright young man may look to some advancements prospects in his own country without having to engage in what is an agonising struggle of conscience.
This is a point which has not emerged sufficiently in this debate. There are many young men who want to stay in Britain because they feel that the future 97 of this country demands work that they can do, people who feel their loyalties here, who want to serve the community in which they have grown up and which has given them their education, and who are faced with this dilemma—choosing between their public conscience or serving their own families in the best possible way. They have this dilemma to which they have to find some kind of solution.
I wish more of our younger scientists allowed their public consciences to come out on top. It is not particularly creditworthy—I say this sincerely—when a young scientist will not stick it out here and goes for higher pay and the easier job in America. Indeed, one of the best sentences written on this subject appeared in the Guardian on 25th February, from one of my own colleagues on the Executive Committee of the Associaton of Scientific Workers. He wrote of an offer that he had had from America to take his team there. He said:I have spent too much of my life trying to help to improve the conditions of scientists in my own country to take this easy way out, or to encourage my colleagues to do so.He went on to say what the temptations were.
The Parliamentary Secretary must accept that even though it is true that the Government are spending more on research and on the universities now than they were six or seven years ago, this does not mean that they are free from blame. It does not excuse the Government from the responsibility of not having spent enough on the universities and on research. I am amazed when Government spokesmen, whether they are talking about housing, pensions, education or whatever it is, refer with pride to the fact that we are spending more on some field of public activity than we were six years ago.
What a very odd country it would be—even odder than it is at the moment—if we were not doing so and if a Government spokesman were to say that we spent less this year than we did six years ago on education. The point is whether we have spent a sum commensurate with needs or with the advance in the national product. This we have not done.
Where the Parliamentary Secretary is making a mistake is in thinking, as indeed the right hon. Member for Hall Green was, that science can be regarded 98 as one compartment on which Government money has to be spent. He referred to hon. Members on this side of the Committee saying that they were going to give priority in spending to so many aspects of State activity. What he does not appreciate is that the first priority has got to be the economic health of the nation and what is needed to promote it, in order that we may have the products of greater national wealth to spend on education, housing and so forth.
Science, and spending on science, encouraging the application of scientific ideas in industry, encouraging new technological processes and encouraging scientists to stay in Britain rather than to go abroad—this is the crucial and central part of reviving the economy of Britain in order that we may become the kind of nation which can afford to spend far more on housing, education, pensions and the rest.
We have got to earn our standard of living, and what the Government are doing is refusing this country the opportunity of earning the standard of living that its people want. The Government are doing this by being short-sighted, by adopting what is essentially a Conservative philosophical attitude towards the organisation of science in this country, and they are doing it by continually disposing of the central problem to committees. The Trend Committee is considering many of these matters, but do the Government really need the Trend Committee to tell them how important science is, or to tell them that the scientists must be given the central place in our economy and in the sphere of social values which we adopt? Of course not. It is a complete evasion of responsibility for the Government to wait for the Trend Committee to report before dealing with these points.
I want to deal with one ancillary and, in a way, a more minor point but one which is perhaps symptomatic of the Government's attitude. The Parliamentary Secretary spoke of the increased grant that is going to be given to the universities to support research students. He spoke also of the increased number—I think he said 100—of D.S I.R. research studentships that are going to be introduced in the autumn. I want to tell the House about one little argument that I have been having with the Parliamentary Secretary 99 over the last few months concerning what happens to research students who have to exist on D.S.I.R. grants.
The Government believe—indeed, they have written into the regulations governing D.S.I.R. studentships at our universities—that there is something slightly immoral about a young man wanting to marry and have children before he is 25 years old. If he marries before he is 25, he will get no marriage allowance for his wife.
This may not be too bad, because the wife may be working and, if so, they can manage. If, however, they have the temerity to believe that parenthood should start before they are 25, they must live as one of the most "submerged tenth" poverty-stricken groups in the nation. When I discussed this matter with the Parliamentary Secretary, the one thing I said which shocked him was that his attitude was Calvinist. He did not like that.
But the idea that people must forgo the pleasures of marriage and of parenthood whilst in receipt of a Government grant to do scientific research when they are below the age of 25 is essentially Calvinist in approach. It is symptomatic of the Government's failure to wake up to the kind of society in which we are living, the kinds of young people whom we have around us and the kind of social pattern that operates in our society today.
I hope that since I spoke to the Parliamentary Secretary, he will have read the report of the Leeds survey, which shows that about 15 per cent. of postgraduate students are married but not in receipt of allowances because they are under the age of 25. Perhaps he has read the comments of the Cambridge Review on what it calls this ludicrous situation. I hope that in looking at the whole problem of financing university research, the hon. Gentleman will bear this aspect in mind as one of the anachronisms that should go.
What scientists need urgently is not so much to be given the U status as against the non-U status of which the right hon. Member for Hall Green spoke. I regard that as a little old-fashioned. It is not true except in the minds of a small and insignificant fraction of our society—perhaps a small section of the Establishment—which still gives greater status to classicists than to scientists.
100 In the minds of the majority of people, the scientists has a very high status. What seems so wrong to scientists in Britain is that the status which they merit and which is accorded to them by society is not matched by the status and respect which they are accorded by the Government. This, above all, is what needs to be corrected. We must indicate to our scientists that the whole future of Britain, the whole success of Socialist planning for a new Britain, will depend upon the kind of effort which they can contribute.
They know this in their minds and they want to hear it from people who are responsible for government. They will never hear it from right hon. and hon. Members opposite, and however much we might persuade them to rethink the philosophy of the Minister for Science they will have to wait until there is a change before they will hear it from the House of Commons.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Airey Neave (Abingdon)
One does not have to share the Socialist philosopy of the hon. Lady the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) to recognise the need for reform in Government scientific organisation. I certainly intend to ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation, when he winds up the debate, to reply to what I consider to be some practical questions concerning this problem.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), in one of the very best of the many remarkable speeches which he has made in the House of Commons, said today that the real question was not the volume of research spending, but the pattern of scientific effort. The whole Committee will agree with that. I wish particularly to refer in that connection to the machinery of government and the part that government must play in regard to scientific organisation. As I have said, one does not have to be a Socialist to see that that is necessary. One can look at this in a different and in a practical way, because, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green said, government is action and action is what we require in the scientific field.
I wish to deal with that problem and also, at the end of my speech, to apply it to something which has always interested me and which I have often raised 101 in the House of Commons: namely, the contribution that the country must make in space research. This has a great deal to do with the reform of government organisation that we require in the scientific field.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation, whom I congratulate upon his appointment and who is to reply to the debate, was chairman of a group which produced an important pamphlet entitled Science in Industry. It contains a great many recommendations which, I hope, the Government will implement. At least, I should like to know from him what they intend to do about those recommendations. I hope that I am not putting him "on the spot" too much in referring to his pamphlet. I prefer its more practical approach to that of Science and the Future of Britain which I read with great interest, published by the Socialist Party in 1961. Each of these pamphlets has the central theme that what is wanted is a new scientific organisation at Government level and a new look at the machinery of Government for handling it.
One of the suggestions contained in the pamphlet Science in Industry about which I should like my right hon. Friend the Minister to reply tonight, and which has been mentioned also by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green, is that every Government Department dealing with industry should have a new kind of scientific-economic staff to act as a forward-planning unit. I should like to know whether the Government are thinking of implementing this recommendation. I certainly like the idea of applying a scientific staff to other Government Departments, but I should like to see this done in other Government Departments than those connected with industry.
The pamphlet went on to say:The need for such a staff is particularly apparent in the case of Departments placing contracts with industry, but we recommend that all Departments, including the Treasury, should have such a staff".At the end of March, we had a debate about the future of Parliament and, to a certain extent, about the machinery of Government. It was said on that occasion that there was only one scientist attached to the Treasury. This was mentioned in connection with some of the 102 miscalculations which, unfortunately, had been made concerning aircraft and guided weapons. Is it the Government's intention to follow up these recommendations and to have an economic-scientific staff attached to Government Departments? If so, we ought to hear what part they envisage civil servants playing in it.
In the summary of recommendations, the pamphlet further states:We envisage established civil servants devoting some part of their career to working on these staffs, but we recommend that the rest of the staff should be recruited in a way somewhat different to the normal civil servant.There may well be people employed in Government scientific establishments who could take important jobs in the Civil Service for this purpose. In view of the recommendations contained in the pamphlet for which my right hon. Friend was responsible, I should very much like to hear his comments about this.
The other recommendation which is of great importance to those concerned with government is the suggestion that there should be a technical policy committee of the Cabinet which would decide the main lines of scientific policy related to military and economic strategy. My reason for asking these questions is that I wanted to apply them to something practical: that is, the need for this country to play an important part in space research.
We have heard a great deal today about the discouragement to our scientists and it has not been possible to work out from any of the figures which we have been given whether there is a net gain or loss. If, however, there is a lack of inspiration in space research, there will be a real danger that we lose some very good scientists. I drew the attention of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation to this danger only last April in the debate on space research.
Space research is party the responsibility of the Minister for Science, although no one is clear to what extent his position differs from that of my right hon. Friends the Minister of Aviation and the Postmaster-General I was glad to hear my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary say something today about new experimental work on satellites. Although good individual work is being done in this field of space research, we are drifting along 103 without any real object in view. We do not have any long-term objective in space research.
America is very far ahead in this field, and at the present time I believe that the French may well steal a march on us and perhaps act on their own. The real cause of this trouble is that there is no long-term objective. It is not a lack of scientific skill in industry or Government in this field. There is great interest in it, and great enthusiasm to get going. But why have the Government failed so far to have any long-term plan for their contribution towards space research?
Certainly, if there is no single Minister responsible for all space research, things will continue to drift. I should like my hon. Friend to answer this question when he replies tonight. There should be a Minister responsible for all these matters. This might well be linked with some of the suggestions about which we have heard this afternoon—some of which have gone too far, and some not quite far enough, in regard to what a future Minister for Science and Technology should do. Such a Minister as I am suggesting ought to be in the Cabinet, and, of course, he would be a member of the Technical Policy Committee of the Cabinet, a sound suggestion coming from my right hon. Friend's pamphlet, Science in Industry.
The present position is that, although the United Kingdom 3 satellite has been ordered and Blue Streak is on its way to testing in Australia, we have not made any real progress towards a basic philosophy in regard to space matters. What are the Government's objectives? That is what I really want to know and what I think many hon. Members want to know. The Government have made, we know, a generalised decision to take part in space communications, and they have also decided to take counsel with our partners in E.L.D.O. and perhaps with other Commonwealth and European countries which may be interested. I am quoting my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation. But by the time that is done, France may well have gone ahead on her own and beaten E.L.D.O. to it.
I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to this matter as one of urgency. I would mention in this connection a handout which the United States Information Service has just issued on this 104 problem of communications satellites. It is dated 3rd July. America is now planning a multi-channel communications satellite:which could prove a boon to developing nations with a low volume of communications trafficand to:open the door to high quality communications in remote areas.That is the sort of traffic and the sort of plan that some of my hon. Friends and I have been advocating this country to take part in for the past three or four years. America already has the resources to be able to sell it to those countries. It is the sort of system that we ought to have taken part in.
So, although the question of the so-called brain drain remains undecided in terms of numbers and net gain or loss, I feel that this question of space research is extremely important. I know that my right hon. Friend and my noble Friend the Minister for Science are not the only Ministers involved. But when are the Government going to get some organisation into this field? This is a practical application of what many hon. Members have said in some very important speeches this afternoon. It applies very much to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green said. It is what we shall very soon need.
I shall be very grateful to have some answers to these problems of scientific effort and also to the practical questions about the form of the machinery. In what we have been putting forward this afternoon, we differ in methods and philosophy, but we all feel quite clearly that there must be some reform in the machinery of Government to this end.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ Mr. William Stones (Consett)
My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), in ably opening the debate, declared his ignorance of science and referred to the fact that there are few scientists in the House of Commons. As a matter of fact, I think we are all scientists to some extent. Ever since the beginning of mankind men have studied cause and effect. Otherwise, human society could never have developed as it has done. Everyone will agree that if we are to make further progress, we must pursue knowledge still further.
105 Despite the fact that, as I have said, every man is a scientist to some extent, there are, unfortunately, relatively few trained scientists in the world. The number is growing, in some countries more than others, but I think it true to say in the United Kingdom we are not keeping pace. I agree that there are different standards in various countries, and for that reason it would probably be unfair to make a comparison.
It has often been said that knowledge is power, and that the greater the knowledge, the greater the power. However, knowledge in itself will never overcome our difficulties as a nation or world problems. It is really the application of knowledge on which we depend, and if it is wrongly applied, it will be disastrous. Properly used, it can be of tremendous benefit to the people of the world.
It is deplorable that men so misuse science that in certain circumstances the civilised world could be destroyed at the drop of a hat. It is to be hoped that common sense will prevail in the end and that that will not come about. We would all agree, I am sure, that the efforts of scientists throughout the world should be directed to the benefit of mankind in general. It is a deplorable fact that, despite all the improvements in the standard of living brought about by scientists and technologists, half the people of the world are still living in abject poverty.
We in the highly developed countries of the West must be concerned about the under-developed parts of the world. Indeed, we are. However, in the present state of society I think that we must first concern ourselves with our own country. It has already been said that the more we do for ourselves in developing our society, the more able we shall be to afford assistance to the less fortunate.
We were once the leading industrial nation of the world, and we were that for many years. However, other countries followed our lead, and now they are our rivals and very keen competitors, and we are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with them in the world markets—in many cases on unfavourable terms. If we are to survive economically we must use to the very full our knowledge and technical ability. 106 Equally important, we must improve our knowledge and skill.
We shall have to keep pace at least with the world industrial progress. In recent years we have failed in this respect, for our share of world trade for manufactured goods has fallen year by year. So that we may make the necessary progress industrially there will have to be research into the use of materials, both old and new, and the designing of newer and better machines involving a highly technical content.
The Parliamentary Secretary referred to some industries which are doing well in this respect. I want to make a very specific reference to the mining industry as a nationalised industry which has given rise to some sport on the benches opposite from time to time, but as a result of research and advancing technology in that industry, last year an 8 per cent. increase in productivity was achieved.
I recognise the difficulty of keeping pace with certain of our giant competitors, including the United States, the Soviet Union and Japan. But we cannot afford to spend less on research in proportion to each of them. It is absolutely vital that the money is spent in the best possible way because we have such limited resources.
The Parliamentary Secretary said that the total amount spent last year—1961–62—in this country on research was £634 million, or about 2.7 per cent. of the gross national product, with the Government providing about 60 per cent. of the total. I am pleased to note that this was an advance on the previous year, when it was about £480 million. However, we must not forget that a large proportion was for defence.
I quite appreciate the necessity for defence research, but I believe that, if there were greater co-ordination between the allies in N.A.T.O., we should probably be able to maintain our defence effort at rather less expense. In any case, we must consider priorities and it is well understood that the more we spend on defence the less we have for other purposes.
I believe it is possible that, in all branches of scientific research, there is lack of co-ordination, resulting in greater cost and waste of effort. In a capitalist society it may be inevitable that scientists 107 engaged by huge industrial concerns will be working simultaneously on similar projects, keeping their progress secret. If that is the case, then again money and effort are wasted. However, I understand that more than 5,000 scientists and technologists are being sent to the World Petroleum Congress at Frankfurt-am-Main to discuss the latest techniques and equipment used in the oil industry. Such exchanges should be carefully considered in other industries, for that would be of benefit to us all.
There is also the necessity for greater research in medicine and related subjects. Recently, there were disturbances at a borstal institution for girls. We often complain about juvenile delinquency and how best to overcome it. Yet for twelve months these teen-age girls have been creating disturbances and all sorts of punishments have been used without effect. Psychiatric treatment can be of benefit to such people but there is no resident psychiatrist at this institution. Only on occasion does one visit the place.
I am told that there are not sufficient competent persons to provide treatment for all those people who are in need of psychiatric treatment. Indeed, there is a shortage of competent persons in many branches of science, and remedial action must be taken at once. There is great need for highly trained scientists and more of them. This means that we should be preparing boys and girls for scientific careers and we can only do that in the schools.
I make no apology for referring to education again, for it is of such great importance. I am not sure that we are doing enough. To gain admission to universities and colleges of advanced technology, applicants must have certain academic qualification which can only be gained at grammar schools and other schools with similar standards. Despite the 1944 Act, only a small proportion gain entry to such schools. I was disturbed to see in the Annual Report of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy, 1961–62, a table about graduate science and mathematics teachers. This showed that in grammar schools there were 433 more in 1959 than in 1958, but that there was only an increase of 242 in 1961. In all the grammar schools and secondary schools, we had, in 1959, an increase of 108 716 compared with 1958, but an increase of only 485 in 1961.
Everyone agrees that science and mathematics are fundamentally important. But even if they gain the necessary academic qualifications our young people cannot all get places in the universities. I am told that 50,000 children will qualify for admission to university this year, but that 20,000 of them will find that there are no places available. There must be greater improvement in our education system if we are to have the scientists and technologists that we need. In addition, it has been estimated that we shall need to produce 10,000 more teachers for our universities and technical colleges over the next four years—twice the number produced in the last four years. This is all quite apart from the drain to overseas of top level scientific manpower.
How are we to raise the number of university places from 111,000 to 150,000 by 1967 if we do not get a sufficient number of teachers in the universities? To remedy the situation, huge sums must be spent and it is no use anyone saying that we cannot afford it, for we must afford it. If we do not spend now, we will find it more difficult in a few years' time.
Advances in science and technology, among other things, have produced new industries, which means that a certain number of traditional industries and skills are contracting or finishing, and this could have very serious social consequences in certain circumstances. We must accept that possibility and prepare for it. The trade unions affected must be consulted and considered at all stages of the transition. If they have confidence in those guiding and managing the industrial machine, the workpeople affected will be more ready to respond. It is absolutely vital, therefore, that they should be consulted at all stages.
We have a Minister for Science, who also has a number of other posts. Whatever his capabilities, however enthusiastic he may be, I believe that with these other responsibilities it is impossible for him to direct our scientific affairs. From the benches opposite it has been suggested that direction of our scientific affairs is inadequate.
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) 109 suggested a further organisation, and his idea may well coincide with mine. I suggest that there should be a council of Ministers representing the various Departments, such as the Treasury, Defence, the Board of Trade, Education and Science, responsible for the planning and directing of research and development policy. This is the only way in which we are likely to overcome our great difficulties and retain our status in the world.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ Mr. John H. Osborn (Sheffield, Hallam)
This is the third summer debate on science which we have had in this Committee. When my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House announced a debate on science, I viewed the prospect with some dismay. Many scientists, not only in this country but throughout the world, read our debates. Not so many people are now reading HANSARD as at the peak period—I gather only about 25 per cent.—but in these debates in the House of Commons, and, for that matter, in another place, we are able to put our views on a wide variety of subjects. I had hoped that the net would be confined, but when the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) started his speech. I gathered that once again the debate would be far-reaching.
Because of the very nature of Parliament, our debates are inevitably diffuse and wide-ranging on subjects such as this, and the concise, methodical, analytical approach which surrounds the scientist in his own thinking and day-to day work is completely and equally inevitably absent in a debate in the House. Is it possible to define the theme of this debate so far? My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) spoke of scientific effort, but the problem is one of administration and development of science and research at national level and, more locally, in industry. This is the aspect of the subject with which I wish to deal.
Before analysing the problem of "machinery and government," raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave), I should like to comment on the nature of the problem which faces Parliament itself. We have a Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, 110 which is an informal quorum where Members of Parliament of this House and of another place are able to meet scientists of distinction in a wide variety of scientific fields. At times, the Committee makes more formal studies of scientific problems, one of the more recent being that of research in industry. This Committee, therefore, is one way in which Members of both Houses are able to inform themselves objectively about the country's scientific problems.
Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee today are projecting their ideas about science in the future; but the first issue which must be resolved is the determination of how we as politicians, irrespective of party, can better apply our minds and thinking more analytically and with more understanding to the problems facing science and those administering our scientific effort. In essence, we are the critics. Our job, as Members of Parliament, is to watch the Executive, in this case my noble Friend the Minister for Science and the Parliamentary Secretary.
We can do this in other ways. During this last year there has been some criticism of the type of reactors that it has been decided to develop for ships. I was one of those privileged to take part in a parliamentary visit to the reactor division at Risley, where Sir William Cook outlined to us the nature of the work being done there. As a back bencher, I was able to see for myself the complexity and difficulty of the decision which had to be taken. If we as Members of Parliament can see that sort of thing once, we can see it several times.
I sometimes wonder whether in these debates we are but onlookers shouting from the touchlines and not ourselves making a real impact on scientific progress. Much of my own thinking on this subject was reiterated in a Conservative publication, Change or Decay—my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon was, with me, one of the joint authors. In it we tried to analyse the problems facing Parliament and the Government in an industrial society.
One of the ideas which we put forward was that of a specialist economic sub-committee. I know that many hon. Members do not favour such committees, but I submit that the detailed study of the administration of our scientific endeavour is a complex and painstaking 111 task. For that matter, so is the administration of a large company. The success of a large industrial undertaking, where many complex decisions are made, depends on the type of agenda presented to those making the decisions and the background papers to go with it. If it is vital for the administrators of a large company, then is it not vital for Members of Parliament to be similarly conditioned in this way? We as Members of Parliament must find a way not only of observing and shouting from the touchlines, as we are doing today, but of taking a more active and influential part in the progress of science.
At the same time, we must not forget the growing influence of outside bodies, such as the National Economic and Development Council, on science and scientific administration. N.E.D.C. has shown its interest in science and the education of future entries into the scientific field. If N.E.D.C. grows, as many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee hope it will, I am convinced that it will take over from Parliament many of the functions and much of the deployment of the administrative effort, covering the whole range of economic activities, and down to each section of industry.
Having said that, I now wish to turn to a survey of the scientific and industrial scene so far as it has been changed within the lifetime of this Parliament. There has been a change of almost dynamic proportions during the last five or six years. Yet, because we are living with it, we are hardly noticing that it is taking place. The hon. Member for Coventry, East spoke of demoralised scientists, but if we consider what is going on around us this surely is a description which cannot be accepted.
It is only the small instances which bring this home to the average citizen, but the measures taken since the Education Act, 1944, are bound to have their impact. The fact that we are opening approximately 500 schools a year and have made more than 2 million more school places available for our young children is bound to have its impact in the years to come, whether we like it or not. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary said that we were spending ten times on university building as we were 112 when the Prime Minister took office. Then again, there have been increases in the university population and we are making provision for a further increase. This has meant that the country has been training more scientists; and this is bound to have an impact on progress in our industry.
It was in the spring of 1961 that I was able, in Committee of Supply, to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair for a debate on capital investment in industry, and I wish now to refer to two points that I raised in that debate. The first was the need for increased inducements to industry to embark on a capital investment programme, that is, to apply our knowledge by putting in new equipment in our various industries. I emphasised the need for increased investment allowances, and in recent Budgets successive Chancellors have not only increased these allowances, but they have been more generous, but they have been consistent.
The second point I then stressed was the dilemma of many a company in this modern age when it is faced with investment in a capital project. Invariably, expenditure on new equipment and methods is justified, but capital investment on a vast scale without markets can be a headache to an industry, and to a single company. Immediately the capital investment has been incurred, there is a need to make a contribution towards the standing charges that go with that investment. If production is below maximum capacity, the investment can be an embarrassment. One industry which has invested in modern plant and equipment on a large scale is the steel industry, and at the moment it is faced with the problem of over capacity.
Another point that I wish to stress today is the impact of science on productivity by means of the introduction of automation and new processes into industry. In previous debates I have stressed the need to apply our knowledge in industry, and this point was made today by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green. In an earlier debate on science I explained how new techniques and processes invariably helped to achieve higher productivity by cutting out many of the finishing operations in manufacturing the finished component from basic materials.
113 The general theme of today's debate has been more education, more scientists, higher pay for scientists to prevent the brain drain, and a demand for increased C.A.T.s. The disagreement between the two sides is about whether we are doing enough to cope with the problem. We need more scientists. I think that hon. Members on both sides agree about this, but this is not the end of the story; it is merely the beginning. The hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Stones) spoke about this when he referred to the impact of science on industry. Science by itself is of limited value. Its importance from the politican's point of view lies in the application of that science to our industries.
There is one aspect in which hon. Gentlemen opposite could give a bigger lead than they are giving at the moment. That is in facing the impact of this modern technology, which is the result of the endeavours of scientists, on our industries. The impact of this scientific knowledge will affect the way of life of ordinary people in ordinary industries. The application of new techniques and scientific inventions in the construction of new factories, the effect of good housekeeping at home, the provision of more power to each worker's elbow, all mean that we in this country will be able to turn out more work per man hour.
"Productivity pays" was a suitable title for an excellent publication produced by the Financial Times last week. The rationalisation of our industries, and particularly our nationalised industries, resulting in the application of new processes and discoveries, certainly brings about a higher output per man hour worked, but it presents us with the problem of redundancy and change within each industry. This could mean a reduction in the labour force, for example, in the mines, and the same could happen on the railways.
It is all very well for hon. Gentlemen opposite to shout for more science, but are they prepared to grasp the nettle of the consequences of applying this new knowledge on which we are spending so much money and to deal with the social and socialogical problems that are bound to arise? This point was raised in the debate last summer by one hon. Gentleman opposite following on what I said then.
114 The cry now is for science and more science, and it is a common one. Hon. Members, and hon. Gentlemen opposite particularly, will continue to shout the battle cry, 'Let us go forward; let us have more science" until the effect of this is felt in their constituencies, and then the cry becomes "Halt, we must go backwards and slow down this very advance that science is bringing about".
This is National Productivity Year and the application of science is but one of the tools which helps us to increase our productivity. What has been strangely lacking is a willingness to tackle the implications of scientific change when it involves the lives and livelihood of so many of us in this country. It is all very well to ask for more science in our way of life and in our jobs, but when it means facing the implications of the impact of the technological revolution which is sweeping across the country, we are only too ready to adopt a different attitude.
Having set this background to my observations, I wish to deal with the problem of research, research associations, and expenditure on them. I welcome the F.B.I.'s report, which is the second in just over eighteen months. The first part of this report is a memorandum to industry. Dealing with the ingredients that provide confidence, it says that the price and marketing methods will be right, and that the design and performance will be best in their class.
It is interesting to note that during the last seven years expenditure by British industry on research and development has risen from £68 million to £213 million. It is also interesting to note that expenditure on defence has dropped from 59 per cent. to 38.7 per cent., and that the Government's total expenditure has fallen from 74 per cent. to 60 per cent. while that of private industry has gone up from 22.8 per cent. to 33 per cent. There are three observations to make which I wish to note: first, that the speed of change—and I have said this before—is now so great that it is not open to us to adjust ourselves gradually. Secondly, there is little doubt that industry in general—and this point is made in the report—and the medium and small firms in particular, still have much to gain for themselves and for the industrial success of this country by the proper use 115 of development and research. This point was raised at the F.B.I. conference in April a year ago.
Thirdly, the F.B.I, says that it has sympathy with the smaller firms in this respect in not being able to afford much, if any, scientific staff of their own, but regret that there seem to be many who fail to make use of the willing help and advice which surrounds them. This is interesting, because the voice of industry is commenting on the fact that industry is collectively realising the extent of the responsibility it has to apply science in its day-to-day activities.
We have had a survey of the work of the 52 research associations, the number of which, as a result of the statement by the Parliamentary Secretary, have now been reduced. We know that £9 million is being spent by them, but this is a small part of the total expenditure on research. One thing which is clear is that both Government and industry have their separate responsibilities. I agree that pure research is still a State responsibility to a great extent, but applied research, which means applying it to a greater extent regardless of the party in power, must be shared by the State and industry.
The F.B.I, suggests that industry's contribution should go up by another 25 per cent., that is, to £50 million, but that this figure should be matched by another £50 million from the Government.
This is an example of the sort of partnership that has been visualised. What are the implications of this? Already industry—and the report of the F.B.I. shows it—is giving up some of its autonomy when it is calling on State funds. Earlier, I referred to the work of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, which looked into the problem of research and research associations. We received a fund of advice, and this is an example of what can be given to the back-bench Members of Parliament. The directors of a research association, to quote the advice which they give us, would be the first to agree that industry was much more now a community function, and that, conversely, the Government takes on substantial responsibilities for the economic health of the country and the impact on it of research.
One of the most remarkable things is the extent to which in this country we 116 have co-operative research between competing firms in one industry through our research associations. We take it for granted, but other countries are amazed at the extent to which competing firms will co-operate. But this creates its problems. Some of the progressive firms want to carry out their own research, and do not see why they should pass on the benefits of that research to their competitors.
Many directors of research associations have pointed out to me that one of their functions in running their own association is to go around collecting money to support themselves. On the other hand, it gives them a chance of gaining entry into certain companies where that chance would be lacking, but for that introduction. The fundamental problem which is still with us is whether or not the return from research and work in research associations is likely to be of increasing benefit indefinitely to us in this country.
If industry spends 25 per cent. more, which is the figure the F.B.I. put forward, how should it be spent? Should it be spent by individual companies in their own firms, or should it be spent collectively? One of the difficulties is that far too frequently those carrying out no research in their own companies are able to benefit from research carried out by their competitors.
I accept the figure of an extra £100 million as being a reasonable target which should be aimed for in this country. We have referred to the relative amount of gross national product spent on research. In the United Kingdom this is about 2.7 per cent., in the United States of America slightly higher, 2.8 per cent. We have to ask ourselves whether this money and the manpower involved will be spent effectively.
It is said that in the United States and Russia their understanding of science is greater than in this country. I shall deal with the manpower position shortly. There is no doubt that we are bringing into existence a larger number of scientists as a result of our "production line" in education.
Last year in the debate, I gave some of my impressions of Russia. From what I saw, I was very impressed with the equipment and facilities in Russian teaching establishments as well as their research associations, and, in particular, 117 I referred to the Institute of Steel. I also gave as my impression that scientists were living to a certain extent in their own ivory tower. One of the problems facing Russia to a greater extent than this country or the United States was to apply the research that they were carrying out in their research establishments to many of their more basic industries.
It is my view—and I put this forward in all humility—that in our debates five years' hence we shall more and more be discussing the application of science in our industries. In considering the work of research associations I am convinced that just as this was the challenge which confronted us a few years ago, it will confront us again to a great extent in the years to come.
I said that I would touch on the manpower problem. There is some disagreement about the observation in the 1961 Report,That the overall supply and demand for qualified manpower will not be very much out of balance by 1965.What I feel is that we are still short of engineers and mathematicians. The information coming in, and it has been mentioned this evening, is that not enough people are going into our universities with these qualifications, but bearing in mind that the numbers taking part in the courses of colleges of advanced technology and technical colleges are increasing five or six-fold, I think that it is wrong to impute that nothing is happening.
Another view that I share is that we cannot have too many scientifically trained people in the production lines of our industry—by this I mean not only production, but sales departments. I have had many discussions on the status of the scientists in industry, and it is still felt by some scientists that they are part of the kit of top management. This was the phrase put over to me this weekend. In fact, the President of the Federation of British Industries is stated to have said that 64 out of every 100 top managers in industry at present have no major qualifications. He said this in a speech at Cambridge, about two weeks ago. Oxford and Cambridge produced 7 per cent. of the top board level material, other universities 7 per cent., and 64 per cent. had no particular qualification but experience. But this will inevitably change.
118 We must ask ourselves: why is this so? Hon. Members opposite will appreciate that one of their aims for industry not so long ago was that men should be able to rise to the top from the shop floor. Now it appears that their aim is to have men in industry with proper qualifications only at the top. I believe that in future more and more managers will have the scientific qualifications we want. Therefore it is desirable and inevitable that we face this fundamental problem of how do we pay our scientific manpower. Do we pay them enough?
In our debate last year I suggested that Russia had got the balance slightly wrong and were not paying enough to the managers in industry in proportion to the payment made to their top scientists. One of our problems is, assuming our managers had the scientific qualifications, how much remuneration should pure scientists in research receive as against scientists taking on managerial posts. I think that that is something to be welcomed and that more and more industry will have the scientific qualifications because of the momentum of our educational programme.
I accept that many of us do not wish to be complacent. To summarise, my view is that science is a means to an end and the means of providing ordinary people with a rising standard of living. Technology is, therefore, perhaps the end-product of much of our scientific endeavour and must be applied in our industries. Therefore, science is not an end in itself. It is only the application of science, not science itself, which will concern us as an industrial society.
I welcome the increasing number of scientists coming out of our educational system. I respect and admire those who decide to stay on in research in our universities, research establishments or research associations. But I would also say that our national problem as the years go by will be to make room for more and more scientists in the production line, and I look forward to the day when every supervisor and foreman will have the qualifications of a top graduate at the university, or the holder of a top diploma from a college of technology.
Therefore, I support the view that we need not be ashamed of the progress and change that we have made in the last five years. I look forward to this pattern continuing.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Skeffington (Hayes and Harlington)
We have all listened with interest to the very thoughtful speech that has just been made by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn). We would not all agree with his conclusions, which I thought were rather complacent, although not quite so complacent as those contained in the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary. After the devastating exposure of the situation by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) we got from the Parliamentary Secretary what was no doubt the best defence he could put up, but it was really a very complacent one. As my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) said, the hon. Gentleman seemed totally unaware of the ferment in scientific circles about the Governments drifting policy for science as the outside world sees it.
In some respects I have great sympathy for the Parliamentary Secretary. I do not know whether he sees his Minister very often. The Minister has been putting on his cloth cap and going to the North-East, and now I suppose he has another hat for Moscow. I only hope that on this occasion the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to convey to his noble Friend some of the feelings of acute disquiet which have been evinced from hon. Members on both sides of the Committee in this debate.
The hon. Member referred to the speech that he made on this subject last year. The fact we have had only one debate a year is, in its way, the best evidence of how the Government treat science, and what they feel about it. We can spend any amount of time in debating other subjects, but it has now been left to the Opposition for three years running to provide even this meagre opportunity of one day. I am glad that it has been taken, but I am sure that historians will think we had a strange sense of values when they record these times.
The country, the House and the Government must be prepared to improve the status and importance of scientists. So far we have failed to do this. The Government must take much of the responsibility in this matter, because it is their obligation to give a lead. That lead has been singularly lacking. We have had the occasionally splenetic speeches in 120 another place from the Minister for Science when criticisms have been made about him, or else his silly joke that he can take his Department about with him in a taxi cab. That is no way to treat an activity upon which determines so much of the standard of living of our people now and of our economic and technical future. I hope that from this debate onwards hon. Members on both sides will resolve that science must occupy a place much nearer the centre in our deliberations.
I want to start the main part of my speech by saying something about the Civil Service and the need for change. I do not want to make a general charge against it. It is sometimes said that a nation gets the Civil Service that it deserves, and I think that, on the whole, we have a very good one. But many scientists feel that they are being treated as second-class citizens in it, and that the old classical maxim that if a person has a broad general education he can administer everything has certain limitations. The obvious conclusion may be that the less one knows about a subject the more objective one's decision may be—but, of course, it may also be much more irrelevant. There are some Departments which cannot be run upon this old-fashioned concept.
Because I think that it puts the situation in a nutshell I want to quote something that Dr. Bowden said in the remarkable television performance on 30th May, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East referred earlier. Dr. Bowden is the Principal of the College of Science and Technology at Manchester University, and he said:I think that the whole of the Establishment—the Civil Service in particular—need a fairly radical reform, and the introduction into them of more people who have been educated in engineering and science, as distinct from the Humanities which dominate the Civil Service at the moment. I sometimes think in fact that our Civil Servants are rather like Chinese mandarins—men of very great culture, charming personality—with an extreme ability to maintain the system unchanged from year to year. We need people who can innovate and can understand the changes which modern society is passing through; and unless and until we get such people in positions of authority and power, this country will never be able to move forward with Europe and with the rest of the world to take its proper place in this, the second half of the twentieth century.That is right. My suggestion is that where certain scientific decisions have to 121 be made they should be made the direct responsibility of a scientific adviser and not an administrator. Many scientists feel that they are not properly consulted. Their views are given at second-hand. There are many spheres in which scientists must be given the status and position which their important work justifies.
I also want to make a brief reference to the position of those who work in laboratories, because the question of recruitment to some extent hinges upon conditions there. No Government Department today is responsible for looking after health, safety and welfare conditions in laboratories. For nearly a century we have had the Factories Acts. Now, after ten years—almost the entire life of this Government—during which we have been agitating about safety conditions and welfare in shops and offices we have legislation for them, too, but the position is still that unless a laboratory happens to be in a factory there is no Government responsibility for conditions.
I have taken this question up with the Minister for Science and also the Minister of Labour. It is admitted that there is no authority at present. The Minister of Labour has said that next time the Government are revising factory legislation they will think about this. That is profoundly unsatisfactory for the many thousands who now work in laboratories. I dare not think about what would happen if fires were to break out in some of our university laboratories and others, and how people would be able to get out of the building, quite apart from questions of health and comfort which ought to be improved and supervised.
When I was trying to obtain an amendment to the Dock Regulations the Secretary for Technical Co-operation—then Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour—said that the Government were getting a move on, and that this reform would happen shortly. That was in 1955, but these Regulations have still not been amended. I am not happy about this. The lives, health and happiness of many people who are working in laboratories are of great importance; they feel that they are completely ignored. They have made representations through their professional organisations, and I hope that something will be done to give them the ordinary, decent and 122 safe conditions which every worker is entitled to expect.
Turning to the major themes of the debate, we have all been greatly interested in the rather radical policies of the F.B.I. in their document Civil Research Policy. In a way this is a commentary upon the lack of effective science policy which the Government have been following, and the sort of drift that has taken place over the last few years. The report admits that some progress has been made, but on the first page it says that there has been not nearly enough, and on page 9 it envisages the expenditure of £100 million as corresponding with the employment of another 12,000 qualified men working on research in industry.
It goes on to refer to the point mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East, that the Government will often have to decide which firm is the most suitable for the help which the Government can give and then, on page 10, it says:We conceive that the Minister for Science must bear responsibility for determining the allocation of State support as between all these claimants and for the scientific strategy on which it should be based.This is a remarkable doctrine, coming from the F.B.I, and one that I very much welcome. Indeed, it is just what the Opposition have said for the last three or four debates.
The Report says that it is impossible for the National Research Development Corporation to do its job if it has always "to make ends meet". This is a forward-looking document, and the fact that the F.B.I. has produced it is an adequate commentary on the inadequacy of Government policy and lack of co-ordination and the failure of the Government to devote a sufficient amount of the nation's resources both in cash and building for essential research of all kinds.
I want to give one or two examples of that failure because they seem to me to bring home in a practical way just how many opportunities the Government have missed. I want to refer again to that television broadcast of 30th May. Let me say first of all that nobody on these benches suggests that we in our universities and training establishments are not capable of producing the very best of scientists and technologists. What breaks our heart is that they have to go 123 elsewhere because they cannot get opportunities for research or permanence of employment here. There are all kinds of projects, a whole series of things, as that television broadcast showed, which are not being proceeded with for lack of facilities.
There was the remarkable 3 D microscope which has been invented at Cambridge. In this one can see objects in three dimensions at very high magnification. It arose out of experiments in another field. It was taken to the National Research Development Corporation which admitted that the idea would work but said it could not afford to help, no doubt, largely because it had as many other commitments as its finances would allow. The scientists hawked the project round to ten firms who admitted it was a practical idea, but no one has taken it up. These scientists know that if they offered this invention to French or German firms it would be put into operation very quickly indeed. So they have spent five years working on it themselves. I am glad, but this is surely a field where the Government could have and should have given help.
There is the question of the new material which has been discovered at Newcastle. It is possible for the material to change its electrical resistance by something like 10,000 times over a range of temperatures between 20 degrees and 30 degrees. This would have the utmost value to television and electronics and so on, but no one has been found willing to back this project, and it is still hanging fire.
There were other examples of this kind quoted in that television broadcast, and one would like to know why the Government have not helped. Is it because of lack of organisation? Is it because of lack of knowledge? What is the obstacle which prevents national resources from being devoted to these kinds of development?
One has heard so often—and my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East referred to them again this afternoon—of the lack of buildings and accommodation for scientists and research, and examples of this were given in that television broadcast. For instance, there was the Birmingham Medical School which was built before the war with accommodation for 124 90 students; it has now 150 and cannot take any more because there is simply not room for them. It has not adequate laboratory facilities, and so its work is severely restricted because of lack of space. There is the Pharmacology School at Edinburgh, which has turned down 16 post-graduate students because it has no room for them. So one can go through university after university giving examples of the lack of buildings.
That television broadcast showed the other side of the coin, too. Professor Nixon of University College Hospital actually showed his empty laboratory where there are the organs of 5,000 babies who died in 1958—still unexamined. It is empty because there was not money to pay the workers' salaries. He pointed out that one in a thousand babies are born deaf and that every eight hours a spastic child is born. Research into all this is needed immediately, and yet there is no technician available in 1963 to examine the organs of babies who died in 1958. That is the other side of the picture. What a picture!
Then there is mental health which we talk about a good deal in this Chamber and on which we are spending more money, and we are encouraging local authorities to spend more money on it. Professor Daniel, who has made a great contribution in this field, said that he had to spend one quarter of his time trying to get money which was a waste of his time, and, of course, it was a waste of his energy.
These seem to me to be practical examples of the way in which science is hampered at the present time and of the failure of the Government to help research where they could have helped. It is a condemnation of their general attitude and policy.
I want to close by referring specifically to two other examples. I have often heard the Parliamentary Secretary, in answer to Questions in the House on specific subjects—cancer, for example—say that it is not true to say that cancer research cannot be carried on for lack of money: there may be other reasons why it cannot be developed. Dr. Bonham, of University College Hospital Obstetric Research Unit, who has been doing work of this character, said:I have been working in this department for four years, doing clinical work, teaching 125 and research. During the last year we have been lucky enough to develop a new technique for the diagnosis of early cancer. This is a major breakthrough, we feel, and unfortunately we now know that it may be necessary to stop most of this work as my salary is about to dry up. Despite strenuous efforts by my predecessor to obtain funds to keep the salary going we have not yet been able to register any success, and I am having to think about my future most seriously. I think the work is so important that it may be necessary for me to go elsewhere, and I am therefore thinking of emigrating to some country where facilities and salary are more readily available.This is from somebody actually engaged in research which has achieved a break through and it shows that the argument that money does not inhibit research is not true, although it is used in answer to Questions put in the House from time to time.
Then there was Dr. Bunton, of London University, a lecturer in chemistry, who gave reasons for going away:One reason is the lack of space here. We are not exactly living in cupboards, but we are very restricted for accommodation. This building is about sixty years old, and we are still waiting for a new one. Here, my office is carved out of a lavatory, with a partition across there, and every now and again one can hear chains rattling. This is not very important in itself, but it is symptomatic of the whole system under which we work.Is it difficult for anyone to imagine why these people want to go to work somewhere else? I think that that television broadcast was most revealing of the things which are happening in many universities and hospitals, and showed the failure of the Government to harness the minds of these men and to help them. They do not know from one year to another whether they will be employed and it is impossible for them to get the best results in these conditions.
We must have a change in the attitude, not only changes of the sort I have mentioned, such as a change in the Government's organisational structure, or in the structure of the Civil Service, or having but one Minister to concentrate on these things and not to be spending his time on half a dozen different jobs at the same time. We need a Government change, we shall not get the change until we get a change of Government.
§ 7.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Kershaw (Stroud)
From what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) said one would get the 126 impression that absolutely nothing was being done at all, but I think it is true to point out that in the broadcast to which he made allusion the spirit of the criticisms was not so much that things were all that bad, but rather the anxiety to illustrate points where things were not well.
Having said that, I agree with him that many firms are extremely reluctant to engage in modern technology or to take opportunities for something new. I suggest that that comes partly from our national character, but also partly as a result of experience. We have not suffered having our factories destroyed in the war, and have continued with our old factories and old methods, selling products it the old way to our old customers. We did not have the mental shake-up caused by the physical destruction which occurred in other countries on the Continent.
I am not a technician myself but I have been told that in the steel industry not only in this country, but also in the United States of America, which also, like ourselves, did not have the experience of destruction, there has been hardly a single new idea which has not been imported since the war from France, Germany or Japan. While I know that plant has been modernised, I believe that the inspiration and movement of invention in the steel industry in this country, while it is getting a welcome move-on at the moment, has, in the past, been seriously at fault.
I feel that the figures which my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary gave show that a remarkable change is taking place; the doubling and trebling in various spheres, and even bigger increases in some, over the past five years in the expenditure which we have achieved has been a considerable contribution. We now have 2.7 per cent. of our gross national product devoted to research. If that is combined with the amount devoted to education, which is more than 4 per cent., we have a rather large figure which is worthy of what the country can do. To speak of this situation as being one of stagnation is to be not quite fair.
In terms of percentages, we approximate to the United States, although it is so much wealthier than we are that in absolute terms we spend much less 127 than is spent there. If we are to make important increases in our expenditure on scientific research we must first bend our energies to increasing the gross national product. If we have more resources available we shall find it easier to have the huge expenditure which we should like to undertake.
If we are to increase the gross national product fairly quickly, it follows that we must direct our scientific research efforts towards projects which show some hope of an economic return within the fairly near future. This is what industry largely does, but I think that the Government ought to do a little more than they have done in the past. There will not be a substantial increase without Government incentive.
While I admire very much the work which the Lord President has done in this respect, I have, nevertheless, found some difficulty in measuring its scope, because there are so many different organisations—D.S.I.R. and all the others which I could list and which have been mentioned this afternoon. It may be that this is the best way of organising to give scientific freedom, but I should need convincing on this point, and I cannot help feeling that the Government need to bring things more into focus so that in our debates we can understand a little more precisely what is the Government's object rather than having to discuss various organisations, knowing the object of those organisations.
If we do this, and if the Government extend their operations in that kind of research, we run a formidable risk of losing a lot of money. My hon. Friend called attention to that this afternoon. I suppose that at the moment applied research goes into projects which we consider have some economic future, and if we are to be bolder it means that we shall take greater risks and shall lose money sometimes when things go wrong. I hope that if that happens hon. Members on both sides will restrain themselves in their criticisms.
We on this side have had our fun in talking about Princess flying boats and Britannias which did not go very well, and hon. Members opposite have had a lot of amusement from our changes in defence policy as technology moves on. We must realise that if we are to be 128 bolder in this respect we shall make some wrong decisions, and make decisions before all the facts are assembled for us to be sure that we are right, and, therefore, we shall lose some money.
May I refer to the various international organisations which are devoted to scientific research? Without arguing the point at length, I believe that these organisations can be extremely expensive for us. I have in mind E.S.R.A., E.L.D.O. and Euratom. There is a certain amount of political fall-out from being a member of this organisation, but I think that it is an expensive way of producing political advantage. For instance, I suppose there is little question of our joining Euratom while the negotiations about our joining Europe are held up, but this is an illustration of the fact that we shall join Euratom not for scientific, but for political reasons.
The political reasons are good, and I support them, but we must have some regard to the scientific disadvantages which we suffer. In Euratom we shall be contributing our knowledge and benefiting other people if they wish to take advantage of it. No doubt in other cases we shall be the greater beneficiaries, but in the absence of an agreed rôle for some of these organisations, and bearing in mind the fact that, because one must co-operate with member-nations who have slightly different ideas, there is an inability to agree on the final shape of the programme, all of these organisations are bound to waste a certain amount of money.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)
Does this mean that the hon. Member is in favour of decreasing the British contribution to CERN, Geneva?
§ Mr. Kershaw
I believe that we should increase our contributions, and I can see that there is some value in these organisations, but from the purely scientific point of view we should be careful and make certain that we are getting value for money. We must not think that because they are international they are necessarily better than what we, or any other country, can do on our own. They are no substitute for excellence in our own science.
I want to refer to the cross-fertilisation of experience between the scientific and administrative Civil Service and industry 129 and academic life. This is a great problem in our research establishments. How are those who run them or administer them to have the opportunity to go to industry for a time and then return to their posts? How is the industrialist to be enabled to going to research and then to return to industry? This also applies to the universities.
All concerned are anxious to do this, because of the obvious advantages which it gives, but in the career structure of the Civil Service it is not easy to arrange for a man to be away from his post for a time, and the career structure of industry does not easily allow an industrialist to go for some time to a research establishment. These people might not necessarily be good at the opposite job.
If we are to make sure that the civil servant understands what the scientist is talking about and that the scientist does not say that a civil servant was a good scientist in his day but that that was twenty years ago and he is now only an administrator—one does come across the cases in which the scientist has a slight contempt for the administrator—then we must make sure that there is this cross-fertilisation and interchange, such as we have seen to a greater extent in the United States than here. This will have to be a conscious task of our policy.
Lastly, I want to refer to one aspect of the way in which the Government have at their disposal scientific and academic opinion. I am not referring to the technical side, such as in the Ministry of Aviation, but to the academic and scientific approach to Government problems. An example is in the problems in defence—not necessarily on the technical side of the weapons but on how defence should be organised and which political policies are reasonable and sensible in the technological circumstances which now obtain and which will obtain increasingly in some years time. I am sure that we have nothing like enough of this business. The United States does a great deal of it and while it may be thought that sometimes it does a little too much of this academic thinking or academic advising of the Government of the United States, I am certain that here we do much too little.
I have in mind institutions such as the Rand Corporation, which is run by the 130 American Air Force and has contributed very important thought to the defence concepts of the Western world. Then there are it nerant professors who set up institutes financed by the generosity of the foundations which exist in America in such large numbers. They are almost to be compared with the wandering philosophers of the Middle Ages. They go round setting up these institutes and offering free advice to anybody who cares to listen. It is very good advice. At any rate, it is amusing and interesting advice. Nothing like it exists here. People cannot set up an institute when there is nobody to give them the money to do it. Very important contributions to research, defence research in particular, have been made by such people.
I understand that tomorrow we are to have a White Paper on the reorganisation of our Service Ministries. There has been some sort of public debate about this, but not in the House of Commons. We hardly had an opportunity to refer to it, except in passing, in the Defence debate. Although the Minister has doubtless been only too willing to receive suggestions from any quarter from which they may come, we have not had an academic or intellectual debate about how the defence Ministries should be organised. I do not say this in any critical way, but the staff of all our Ministries, especially of the Service Ministries, are not in their posts very long. They have experience of three or four years, and then they have to pass on in the course of their career to do something else. There is a slight feeling of hit or miss. I hope the solution when it comes tomorrow will be a good one. I do not know what it will be. We have not had a proper debate about it. This is an instance of how the academic side of life can be to some extent neglected by the Government.
If it is decided that this is an idea which ought to be pursued, it is clear that the money for it will have to come from the Government. I hope that it will be possible, therefore, to establish a closer connection, not only with science, but also with academic life, so that the Government of the country will benefit from their thoughts.
§ 7.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)
The Parliamentary Secretary for Science had 131 a clash with my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) on the question of molecular biology. It is true that in 1959 Britain was leading the whole field in molecular biology, but, Dr. King, you will remember that when you and I were guests of Dr. Max Perutz in Cambridge he said that now in early 1963—
§ The Temporary Chairman (Dr. Horace King)
The hon. Gentleman must not bring the Chair into the debate.
§ Mr. Dalyell
I withdraw that. When a party of us went to Cambridge, it was then pointed out—this was in March 1963—that nine-tenths of molecular biology work was now going on in the United States. This serves to underline the theme of my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Grossman), that this country seems to be unable to reinforce such scientific successes as it has.
I wish to focus on a single topic, namely, the teaching of science graduates in institutions outside the orbit of a university.
My general proposal is that after they have completed their first degree, lasting for three or four years, graduates should have the opportunity of continuing formal study at industrial research establishments, either for a Ph.D. or to do a formal second degree course.
In the interests of coherence, I am naming a cross-section of ten places which I have visited recently, either privately or with the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, and where I have discussed this proposition in depth.
One was the Beecham's Research Laboratories at Dorking. Another was the B.P. Research Laboratory at Sunbury-on-Thames. The third was the Mechanical Engineering Research Laboratory at East Kilbride. Incidentally, I was pleased to hear from the Parliamentary Secretary for Science that there are now five professors at the Royal College of Science and Technology in Glasgow from East Kilbride. The fourth was the East Malling Fruit Research Station. The fifth was the Gas Council Research Laboratories at Solihull. The sixth was Harwell. The seventh was the M.R.C. at Mill Hill. The eighth was the Royal Institution, 132 Albemarle Street. The ninth was the Smith, Kline, French Laboratory at Welwyn Garden City. The last was the Vickers Research Establishment at Sunninghill.
In most academic circles it is strenuously contended that in universities research and teaching must go side by side. Who, in fact, has argued this most eloquently of all? None other than the Parliamentary Secretary's right hon. and noble Friend in his book, Science and Politics. Yet if art is true that research and teaching are both essential ingredients of scientific health in universities, may it not also be true that research establishments, which do little, if any, teaching, are the poorer for it?
This seemingly theoretical point is supported by my actual personal inquiries at the ten establishments I have listed. I must have asked at least one hundred different scientists of standing in their own special field, "Could you usefully supervise the studies of one or two graduates if they were attached to you for two or three years?" and only on four occasions did I get the answer, "Not really".
To the second question, "Would it give you pleasure to devote some portion of your time to looking after a young graduate?", only one scientist said "Frankly, no".
It is rather an important point that these are the kind of men and women to whom their work matters for its own sake and who would positively enjoy taking trouble over training one or two graduates for whom they were to be personally responsible.
I am aware that it may seem that I am suggesting some sort of ne'er day medieval craft apprenticeship for twentieth century science graduates. Certainly it would be open to abuse. Those of us who move in scientific circles are also aware that on many occasions virulently acid remarks are made about existing professors at universities who, either because they have not the time or because they have not the inclination, seem to neglect those who are, at any rate nominally, in their post-graduate care. The fact is that post-graduate facilities in our universities are far from perfect.
Scientists at research stations are surely men of conscience, neither more nor less 133 than scientists at universities. Most would not accept a graduate in care if they thought they would waste his time. Yet, with the best will in the world, are research institution scientists of the right calibre for the task I have in mind, because, if not, the whole pattern I am trying to build up falls? The ability of the brilliant teams that work with Dr. Vick at Harwell or alongside Professor Medowar at Mill Hill are world famous. About them there can be no question.
What is not generally realised is the amount of ability which is locked up in less famous and less venerable establishments.
Hon. Members who have been there will know that at the Smith, Kline and French Research Laboratory at Welwyn Garden City among the formidable academic staff are three ex-heads of university departments. It is also instructive that one of them, Dr. Bain, ex-Professor of Pharmacology at Leeds, left, not for financial reasons, but because he was frankly cheesed off with administration and committee duties and wanted to do research and teaching. The firm has given him excellent research facilities, but he has very little—in fact no—teaching to do.
At Sunbury, B. P.'s E. S. Sellers, late-Professor at the University of Swansea, is heading a departmental team pioneering the micro-biology of straight-chain hydro-carbon and turning it into protein. Next door, in wonderfully idyllic surrounding at Sunninghill, Vickers' research team is doing the most exciting and fascinating work on high pressure oxygen therapy, combining the talents of doctors of medicine, biochemists and mechanical engineers, with production know-how.
It is also a consideration that the research establishments tend to be far ahead of the universities in the new borderline subjects. This is, after all, easily explained. University departments get finance usually on the basis of a per head grant for undergraduates. It is a sort of pro rata system. However, many of the new subjects—I think of the science of allergy and immunology—do not lend themselves to first degree undergraduate teaching. Therefore, they tend not to blossom in existing universities. This seems to me to constitute an argument for making possible a 134 second degree formal course at establishments out with universities.
It is apposite to add that when my right hon. Friend the Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn), my hon. Friends the Members for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King), Glasgow, Woodside (Mr. Carmichael) and Dorset, South (Mr. Barnett) and I were the guests of Drs. Perutz, Sanger, Klug, Crick and Brenner at the Molecular Biology Unit at Cambridge, it was the almost unanimous opinion that their work, combining physics, chemistry and medicine, might not have been possible within the framework of an existing university department.
If the Government were prepared to build hostels for graduates in the grounds of such establishments as Sunninghill, Sunbury and others, where a mass of highly expensive and sophisticated equipment is already concentrated, life for the post-graduate could be just as exciting—and cross-fertilisation equally as potent—as in a university.
Business minds on the benches opposite might be bringing their critical faculties into play, and for reasons at which I do not sneer—those of confidentiality.
One head, though only one, of a laboratory—Beecham's, Dorking—did raise precisely this point. He said, "We're here to help keep our firm prosperous and not for educational reasons." There are other opinions. For instance, I asked Lord Fleck a few very direct questions. "You can quote me", he said, "that in my opinion confidentiality of work constitutes little reason why I.C.I. should not do graduate educational training at its establishments, if it is considered desirable on other grounds". And that is an opinion after six decades in the chemical industry.
Most of these problems can be taken care of by the laws of patent. But supposing a significant number of graduates did study at research establishments. What would be the end product?
Before answering this 64 dollar question I should point out that the traditional British system of Ph.D.s must be scrutinised and certain questions asked.
First, in how many scientific disciplines, in the 1960s, is a graduate any more than half trained after three years?
135 Secondly, is it not significant that the technical course at, say, Aachen and Delft, where they work students fairly hard, are five or sometimes seven years?
Thirdly, is there not a rather crucial distinction to be drawn between the need for a British Ph.D. involving original research and a thorough training second degree course during the age range 21 to 24? In this connection, I quote Professor Alec Haddow—and many others have ventilated this theme:Ph.D. training is a graining in research, and recognised as such by the universities and D.S.I.R. Ph.D. does not usually cannalise a man's brain into the teaching of Advanced Technology. Ph.D.s in general are no better qualified than they were before they started their doctorate to do teaching at advanced colleges of technology, and my institute"—that is, the Chester Beatty Research Institute for Cancerand I am aware of an obligation to do more about formal 2nd degree teaching.Quite a number of examiners are worried about the "monumental irrelevance" of a proportion of the Ph.D. subject-matter. Professor Ronald King of the Royal Institute, Albemarle Street, who has considerable experience as an external examiner in Physics, feels that many of his examinees would have used their time far better if, instead of a lonesome Ph.D., they had spent their time doing a formal course of work in a research atmosphere.
I am now in a position to answer the question about end products from education at research establishments between the ages of 21 and 25. First, for a few, I want facilities to do a traditional Ph.D. linked with a parent university—perhaps preferably one of the new universities at York, Warwick, Colchester, Lancaster or Sussex.
Secondly, for many more—destined perhaps to become teachers in colleges of advanced technology and sixth form teachers—I want arrangements made for a highly personal but properly organised course of instruction, paid for by the State, which would have the incidental effect of releasing the energies of many scientists who work at such establishments.
Sir Henry Jones, Chairman of the Gas Council, is basically sympathetic to this kind of argument. He raises minor 136 problems about continuity of work, and so on, but these are not insurmountable. It is pointed out that the Gas Council and its establishments are faced with changing problems. They are researching into one aspect on one occasion and into another on another date. I appreciate that these difficulties exist but they are by no means unanswerable.
I have made a number of highly tendentious statements and have asked a number of loaded questions. There is no quick or slick answer to these and I appreciate that conditions vary from place to place.
On one point, however, I beg hon. Members not to be deceived by the old argument, usually produced by top people in top places, that study should be carried on only in the confines of the university or C.A.T. if academic merit is to be recognised. This is possibly true for the age group 18 to 21 or 22,but I beg hon. Members to beware of those who extend this line of thought to the age group 21 or 22 to 25.
Questioned why the universities will not farm out their graduates to establishments with far better facilities and more space for research than their own, I have heard people use the word "snooty" not once or twice but on at least twenty separate occasions. I suppose that all of us like to do our little bit of empire building on the quiet and, understandably, departments want to build up their reputations.
However, we must be clear that plans for the educational use of expertise and equipment concentrated in the 40 or so institutions of the type I have described do not stand or fall by reasons of prestige for individuals.
What I demand is that the educational deployment of scientific manpower out-with the universities should be judged on its own merits.
At stake is not just how we produce enough industrial scientists, deeply educated lecturers at colleges of advanced technology and technical colleges, and an overflow of deeply trained men and women to carry out worthwhile teaching of high age groups in our schools. Involved in these problems is the future of Britain.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
I am sure that most hon. Members 137 agreed with much of what the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) had to say, particularly in the closing passages of his speech. Before continuing, I apologise for having had to leave the Chamber soon after listening to the two opening speeches and for returning only three quarters of an hour ago. My absence was unavoidable.
Today's debate is somewhat waiting for the Trend Committee's Report. We are attempting to discuss—and the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) made a robust entry into the arena—this matter comprehensively, but it is a pity that we have not had the Report before us. It is also a pity that the Advisory Committee on Scientific Policy cannot get its report out earlier each year, because we are rather limited when debating scientific matters. It would help if that Committee's report was available, because it will contain more up-to-date information than the last one to which we can refer, for that covers the year 1961–62.
The question of science and the Government, in which the hon. Member for Coventry, East is so interested, was referred to in the eighth Fawley Foundation Lecture under the heading "Science and Government". It is interesting to note that it included the following:In the Government it is important not so much that there should be a Science Minister as that all Ministries should learn to regard the application of science, each in its own particular sphere, as one of its main responsibilities. Education, Power, Transport, the Post Offices, the Defence Ministries, Housing, Agriculture—all such Departments must have scientific staff of some kind as part of their organisation if they are to function at full effectiveness.I do not think that anyone in this Committee would disagree with that observation, even though it was made by my noble Friend the Minister for Science. We are all beginning to be more and more aware that we simply must try to regear the Government machine, which is one of the things on which the Trend Committee will advise.
I thought that the hon. Member for Coventry, East was a little less than gracious, although he did refer to my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Aid, about the report of a committee—of which he was chairman and of which I had the great privilege to be 138 a member—published at the end of last year. We vent into this matter for about two-and-a-half years, and I find great similarity between what is in the report from the F.B.I.—with which the hon. Member made much play—and what we recommended. And if it really be true, as the hon. Member said, that my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) wrote the F.B.I, report, perhaps that is not surprising as he, too, was a member of our committee. There is some similarity between the two documents, though we, perhaps, made some rather more positive suggestions about the Government machine than did the F.B.I. report.
One particular aspect on which I should like to touch is the seconding of scientists into Government and of civil servants info industry. The hon. Member for West Lothian referred particulary to the whole question of the relationship between industry and the universities, and I would agree entirely with what he said. I am certain that we must get a much closer link between universities and the industries in their neighbourhood, but I am also certain that we must get the Government machine far more closely allied to what is going on in industry, and in research and development.
I have no doubt at all that, sooner or later, we must make up our minds on what is the best way to do this. Are they to be the people who are actually practising scientists, technologists or technicians in industry, whom we are to have seconded, or are we to have them doing part-time work in each in turn each week? There is a very strong argument against seconding them for too long.
One can get out of date in any technical subject, as I know from my own experience many years ago in wireless, when I got to the Class B rectification of a five-valve receiver and then gave it up. Two months later I was out of date. One then has to do a great deal of back reading to get up to date. If we are to bring scientists into Government, we must make sure that they do not get out of date.
This matter was referred to by the Zuckerman Committee in paragraph 310 of its Report, on the Management and 139 Control of Research and Development, which states:What we would hope to see is a much greater overlap between the Scientific and the Administrative (and indeed the Executive) Class of the Civil Service than now exists. We look forward to the day when men who began in the Scientific Civil Service will become Permanent Secretaries, and when others who started in the Administrative Class will occupy some of the senior posts in research organisations. We believe that there are jobs at present held by members of the Administrative Class which could be done as well by scientists, and vice versa—there are some that could, perhaps, be done better. There should be much greater flexibility in deciding who is the best man to do a job regardless of his origins and classification.In our Report Science in Industry, published at the turn of the year, we emphasised that we simply must inject into every Government Department a better understanding of the scientific vernacular. I would almost agree with what the hon. Member for Coventry, East said about the snobbishness against science. In the old school of thought there is all too often an attitude of looking down the nose at scientists and technicians. That is absolutely tragic. We shall not get ahead as fast as we should if that is to be the attitude. Lord Fleck made a wonderful speech on the subject to the British Society for the Advancement of Knowledge.
Unless in the board room, and running through management, we have a better understanding, an awareness, and a desire to want to know more about how science works and what the problems of the scientists and technicians are, we shall not win the battle we must win to survive in this highly competitive world. I hope that out of the Trend Committee there will come some really sound recommendations on this subject.
I thought that one passage in the civil research policy paper by the F.B.I. was very significant. It is in page 6. I will not read it, but it refers to the excellent relationship between the Royal Aircraft Establishment, at Farnborough, and the industries connected with it. There must be a lesson for someone to learn there. Why is that not the case with every research establishment that has connected industries? We all know that the Royal Aircraft Establishment is doing splendid work, and probably could not survive as effectively as it now can were it not for 140 those industries. If we could get that sort of spirit running through all the other establishments, what rapid improvements we might be able to make.
There is something in what was said in that excellent monthly, R. & D., in an article in February, 1963, which called for a Copernican change. It was taking up what had been said by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Science on the B.B.C. My noble Friend said thatThe rate of impact is controlled by biological factors. The country … is, broadly speaking, ruled by people between40 and 60, and the people between 40 and 60 were not trained under the new educational revolution; they were trained under the old régime, like me, and you won't get a Copernican change … until the products of the 'fifties and 'sixties in the educational field really get in charge.It may be that we shall not get the further development of this at once, but we can put the accelerator down a little towards getting this Copernican change. We must have a Minister in a position to be able to drive his Cabinet colleagues—and his colleagues outside the Cabinet—to see that their Departments are put in right order for this—
§ Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucester shire, West) rose—
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not seek to interrupt me. I understand that the first of the winding-up speeches is due to start at twenty-eight minutes past eight. I would, therefore, be grateful if he would allow me to continue.
What are the fields in which we have to concentrate most? Stuck away in the last Report from the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy—part of a report from the committee that was presided over by Sir Howard Florey to the ad hoc biological research committee of the Royal Society—is the rather startling statement:… the two major scientific problems with which mankind is faced—the control of human fertility and the provision (including storage without wastage) of an adequate supply of human foodstuffs—are both biological problems which call for intense research effort over a very wide field. A second type of reason is that there are very many fields of biology which seem to be nearing the point where they might have practical applications.This paper points out that it is not numbers of men, not the number of people actually at work, that is necessarily the big point. What is important 141 is the proportion of those on actual research compared with the total numbers of graduates.
It is problems like these that we have to see get the right priority, and I do not think that they ever will get the right priority unless the people at the Treasury are much better informed on these matters than they are today. I do not think that we shall get it right until the Departments concerned have the right people in them, and it is encouraging to know that those who have studied the work of research councils have gone out of their way to pour praise on the Medical Research Council. Here, there is perhaps more hope of our being able to grapple with these problems than there is with a lot of the others, which have a lot of leeway to make up.
Although the Parliamentary Secretary gave us some fine figures today, and I congratulate him on them, we simply must not give the impression that we are becoming complacent about this. I would say to my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation, who is to reply to the debate, that in this scientific field we have a new dynamic for helping the Commonwealth. We can help the Commonwealth to jump some of the mistakes which we have made and to go a little further and apply some of the modern technology which we are perhaps in a better position to provide than anyone else.
I know that many people go to America and do not come back, but I would deplore making our scientific manpower insular. We want as much interchange as possible, but before we encourage people to go to America we should help them to go to the Commonwealth countries. There is much of which the Government can be proud, but I believe that we must put, the accelerator down now in getting the Trend report. We have had to wait too long for it already. I hope also that when we have that report it will not be made an excuse by Lord Robbins to delay his report on education. We must get university education right and the colleges of advanced technology right. We must make sure that we realise and that the country realises that we are in a hurry. We have some ground to catch up and time is short.
§ 8.22 p.m.
§ Dr. Jeremy Bray (Middlesbrough, West)
I am extremely grateful to the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) for his great courtesy in allowing me to join in the closing stage of the debate.
I should like to return to the theme which ran through the earlier speeches. I found the Parliamentary Secretary's speech rather like that of the then Mr. Baldwin who, in the depths of the depression in the 1930s, announced in this place that the export of broccoli from Cornwall had been doubled.
The theme is the philosophy of the Minister for Science. This has come under the sharpest attack and has been shown on both sides of the Committee today to be most inadequate. The Lord President of the Council has been responsible for civil science since 1957. He rightly takes comfort from the fact that expenditure on research has grown. This is an achievement, but why, with this picture, is the world of science today absolutely seething with discontent? There can be no doubt at all that it is.
The hon. Member for the Isle of Ely said that perhaps the C.P.C. pamphlet and not the F.B.I. report initiated this discussion, but the discontent with the whole outlook and philosophy of the Minister for Science is still there. The N.E.D.C. Report insists that a sector by sector survey of research in the whole of industry is necessary if we are to identify the growing points of research in future. This has been something which everybody expected from the Minister for Science after the last election, and we have not had it. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) said that we had wasted time. Indeed, we have gone backwards in the last three years. It is more difficult now to recover the case for a strong Minister for Science.
Is this due to personal failure on the part of the Minister? I do not think so. There is a fundamental misconception in the philosophy of science which the Minister represents and in which he has been sustained by the Government. The noble Lord says many true and wise things in his book, but we are left with the impression which is described by Dr. Toulmin, in his textbook on The 143 Philosophy of Science, which has been university reading by students for the past ten years but not, apparently, by the noble Lord.
Dr. Toulmin says, of the philosophy of science:Notice first the topics one finds discussed in books of logic. Induction, Causality, whether the results of the sciences are true or only highly probable, the Uniformity of Nature …and adds:But to anyone with practical experience of the physical sciences there is a curious air of unreality about the results. Lucid, erudite, and carefully argued they may be; yet somehow they seem to miss the mark. It is not the things that are said are untrue or fallacious, but rather that they are irrelevant: the questions which are so impeccably discussed have no bearing on physics.This is also the impression from reading the noble Lord's book.
In a key sentence in that book the noble Lords says:It is not the amateurish quality of rulers which raises the real problems in the relationship of science and government; it is the nature of science itself; contrasted with the inherent character of the aims, and limitations, of government action. For science is primarily about truth, and therefore ought to be intrinsically disinterested, whereas Government is among other things about power, and is therefore inevitably motivated by the desire of it.This is an unreal, indeed a deceptive, juxtaposition. We are not saying that science is not about truth any more than the noble Lord is saying that truth has no place in Government. We are saying that in the stage which science has reached today it is a fundamental element in the power structure of the State and must be seen as such.
It is not that the Minister minimises the sheer weight of science in affairs today; it is that he keeps it in the anterooms of power, under the pretence of preserving some sort of purity and integrity in science itself. This is not the spirit of science today. Some say that the noble Lord does this subconsciously to preserve the power of the Establishment. I do not think that this is so. It may be the motive of some of his colleagues in supporting him in this idea, but I think that his concern is more likely to be to safeguard his own intellectual capital in the philosophy which he was taught thirty years ago.
144 Truth is, of course, fundamental to science but true statements have varying degrees of significance, and the significance of science today is at every stage linked with the structure of power in the State: the subject of study and research with the selective provision of appointments, equipment and the training of manpower; the field of application of science with the undertaking of expensive and risky development; its final use with the distribution of economic power; and the recruitment of manpower, with the social moves determined largely by the outlook and policy of Government.
The power and structure of science in the coming years will be under great strain. There will be undoubtedly an enormous increase in higher education, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) referred in a remarkable speech. The bias against applied science will have to be fought against in the schools and colleges, in this place and in industry. There will be the growth of research with its immense implications for the pattern of employment, training, and outlook for the future, the material standards of living. And, of course, there are the tremendous imponderables of defence.
It is because of this absolutely indissoluble link today between science and the very centres of power that we have demanded a strong Ministry of Science, and this we shall have in not many months' time.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Lee (Newton)
It is not because I am a completely unbiased witness between the two sides that I would not quarrel very much with a great deal of what has been said in the debate today. In listening to the speeches, however, one was struck by the remarkable difference in the approach to the problems which now confront us. I agree with the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke), who rightly and naturally claimed that the pamphlet with which he was associated was a forward-looking document, but I could not help feeling that if he or any other "progressive Tory"—and that I am afraid is a contradiction in terms—who has spoken in this debate had been speaking at the Dispatch Box we should have heard the same speech as that made by the Parliamentary Secretary. In saying 145 that, I am not inciting any more rebellions among the party opposite.
I think every speech on this side of the Committee has been demanding that we should be pushing Britain as rapidly as possible into the middle of a great scientific revolution. That has been the theme. On the other side of the Committee we have had the Parliamentary Secretary for Science making a sort of forward defensive prod—to use a cricketing term—playing right down the line, never putting a foot wrong, and at the end of the day, apparently, not conscious of the great problems which the Government's lack of policy has brought about.
I believe that a Tory Government in Britain, in the midst of what should be a great scientific revolution, is a complete anachronism, with the Conservative approach, the status quo, and all that sort of thing. That is the great problem which Britain faces now. The very condition of success in applying scientific methods to industry is the breaking down of a great deal of a higher education system which is an essential part of Tory society. We heard my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) outline all the stultification which one feels inside the universities—the fact that they believe that a science degree is not to be equated with the classics and the humanities. That is the breath of Toryism in Britain. In addition, they are functioning in the oldest industrialised society in the world. The first Industrial Revolution took place here. Against all the probabilities we emerged as a great industrial nation. When I say "against all the probabilities", I refer to a complete lack of indigenous raw materials. Britain's emergence as the greatest industrial nation is a very great story.
But when we have emerged, in spite of all the odds against us, when we have shown the world the basis of manufacturing industry and so on, we then begin to get a vested interest in retaining the tools which gave us that power. In many of our greatest industries we are suffering from our very success. I could show hon. Members machine tools which are still in British industry and which were there at the beginning of the century. This may seem an awful thing to say, but we are suffering from the very quality of 146 the machine tools which we then produced. Quantitatively they are outclassed by other types. The fact that they can still produce high-quality goods is one of the reasons why we do not scrap them.
We should get a new conception of how to approach problems of industrial production. One of the reasons why the United States are going ahead so much more rapidly than we are is that they have a policy of producing a machine tool with feeds and speeds so coarse that they will rip the guts out of that machine tool in five years, because they know that they will have a new idea by then. We must get more of that kind of approach to industry before we are enabled to compete with other nations.
It is not only necessary to get a new look at the co-operation between universities and industry, but it is also necessary to have a Government who are not too gentle in insisting upon great changes in industry itself. The attitude of the present Government has for so long been, "These are not our problems; they are the problems of industry." I remember the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) producing his report on apprenticeships. He and I do not agree in the least on this topic. I feel that the Government must take responsibility for apprenticeship, and I do not apologise for introducing this topic in to the debate. We are now moving into a period when the craftsman of tomorrow will have to be a technologist. The Government have moved a little since the time of the Carr Report, but it is nevertheless the case that apprenticeships have fallen by 27 per cent. I know that there were fewer school leavers, but the fact is that in the first five months of this year the figures dropped to 33,650 or 12,500 fewer than in a similar period last year.
If we are to get the kind of approach that I want to see to our industrial problems, the Government will have to take far greater control of industrial matters than they have done so far. My hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, West (Dr. Bray) used the phrase "the fundamental element in power structure of the State". I think that is what I am saying, only in other words. Unless we have a far more positive approach to industrial problems by the Government, then the scientific structure of this nation will be toiling in the rear.
147 The hon. Member for the Isle of Ely said something with which I agree when he spoke of the way in which we could assist the Commonwealth to a very marked degree if we could adapt ourselves to this new scientific revolution. I believe that the coming of this scientific revolution, at the moment when the Colonial era is ending, gives man the greatest single chance he has of survival. Our ability to increase wealth production as against the problems of a world in which two-thirds of humanity lives on starvation lines gives us, perhaps, an opportunity to avoid a third world war and certainly to bring higher living standards to so many people. This kind of thing is what my hon. Friend had in mind when he spoke of the atmosphere in which science can flourish. In other words, we do not want to become a scientific nation merely for the fun of it.
We can play an enormously important rôle—and I am not thinking of weapons and the like—if we speedily adapt ourselves to the new techniques which I have been suggesting. Certainly, Toryism is not the very best of political deals upon which to found such a revolution.
The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) said that we on this side were keen to demand great increases in the application of science to industry, but he asked whether we were prepared to face the consequences of doing so. He referred to technological employment and the like. It is a very great question which must be posed. Merely to believe, however, that the introduction of science to industry necessarily presupposes massive unemployment is of itself defeatist. I went to the United States two years ago, when there were 6 million unemployed. It was largely technological unemployment. That, however, was because of the lack of anticipation and planning which a stage of this kind requires.
The hon. Member said that we might well be negative once we reached a position of heavy unemployment, and in that event he is probably right. If the introduction of automation and modernisation were seen by the trade unions to lead to unemployment, they would, of course, become defensive. Therefore, we must examine our economic policies.
148 One thing of which I am certain is that the introduction of a scientific revolution to industry, pushed into a stagnant economy, undoubtedly presupposes unemployment. Therefore, the whole concept which we have had from the Government of an economic policy based on stop-go must be abandoned if we are to make a success of the introduction of science to our industrial processes.
I have mentioned apprentices. The question of skilled trained manpower, or the lack of it, may well be a bottleneck which we have to face if we increase the modernisation of our industries. I belong to the union which organises more apprentices than any other, and I have long believed that the whole silly basis of a time-serving mechanism to produce apprentices is sheer, unmitigated nonsense. I should like to see the training of young people for industry taken completely out of the control of industry and made part of our educational system.
The idea that certain highly-technical trades require five years' apprenticeship and that other trades which are not in the same category in the use of techniques also require five years' apprenticeship and that on the day after completing his five years a man is skilled, no matter which of those trades he is in, is something that we should get rid of at the earliest possible moment. These things are concomitant of what we are now discussing—the need for far more science to be applied to our industrial processes.
§ Mr. Lubbock
Would the hon. Member go so far as to suggest that the Government should specify periods of apprenticeship for different crafts?
§ Mr. Lee
No, I do not think that the Government should do that. Those are decisions in which industry should be in partnership with the Government. There is a great responsibility upon the Government—financially, for example—in the technical training of young people, but I do not wish to cut the industrial people with their "know-how" out of the picture altogether.
The Parliamentary Secretary gave me the impression of saying that our industries as a whole were stepping up their expenditure on research and development. That is not so. One of my hon. Friends informs me that the 1961 census showed that the Churches alone employ 149 more qualified scientists than the machine tool industry, textile machinery, contractors' plant, mechanical handling equipment, domestic electrical appliances, shipbuilding, motor vehicle manufacture, locomotives, clothing, footwear, bricks, pottery, cement, timber, furniture,, water supply, railways, shipping and the port and motor repairing industry all put together.
From the way that the Parliamentary Secretary said that there had been increased expenditure by private enterprise, I thought he was saying that all the great industries of Britain were going in for research and development in a far greater way than they had done before. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman who is to reply will put that right.
The fact is that in 1959–60, excluding Government support, the aircraft, electronics, electrical and chemical industries accounted for 58 per cent. of our research expenditure. If we include Government support, those four industries accounted for 74 per cent. of the total. Probably it is the unequal development of these things which is causing a great deal of trouble.
If we take the industries on the other side, in the public sector, the lack of policy from the Government in respect of the Atomic Energy Authority, in which some 5,300 scientific workers are employed, is resulting in very deep anxiety. I have Risley in my constituency, and I have coining to me people belonging to some of the finest technical and scientific teams in any industry in Britain, and they are worried sick about their future. What an anomaly this is. At a time when I can read out a list of industries which are completely lacking in scientific personnel, these great teams at Risley and in other parts of the Atomic Energy Authority organisation are worried about their future. I am not saying that we should break up the teams. I do not believe we should. But if there is not now sufficient atomic energy work, why are these people not allowed to work on, for instance, the space research projects? Why are they not seconded, in a far better way than at present, to other industries which badly need the skill and techniques which these men possess?
Expenditure as between Government and private industry has been mentioned 150 in the debate. Taking expenditure on research and development in the United Kingdom in 1961–62, Government defence spending amounted to £245.7 million, civil spending to £110.1 million and spending by research councils £29.2 million. Total expenditure was: Government £385 million, public corporations £22.7 million, private industry £213 million, other organisations £12 million, and the universities £1.3 million, a grand total of £634 million. That sounds a terrific sum of money, and, indeed it is. But this is at a time when Britain spends £480 million a year on advertising. To put it another way, British industry is now spending more than twice as much on advertising as it spends on research—£480 million against £213 million. Is this a position in which the hon. Gentleman finds a great deal of satisfaction? It is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs.
My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East told us about the way in which so many of our scientists are emigrating. Indeed, the Royal Society's Report is extremely disturbing. The hon. Gentleman tried to offset it in some ways, but the facts are as follows. According to the Report some 12 per cent, of our Ph.D.s are emigrating each year. Taking the ten-year period from May 1952, the annual rate of permanent emigration has been about 140, or 12 per cent. If those going abroad temporarily are included, the annual rate of emigration of recent Ph.D.s to the United States alone is at least 260, or more than 22 per cent. of the total output in the subjects which the Committee investigated. The hon. Gentleman said that this is happening in other countries. It is to some degree. The corresponding figures given by the Committee for all countries were 157, or 13.5 per cent. The annual rate of permanent emigration of university staff is about 60 per annum, which is 1 per cent. of the total staff in the United Kingdom in all the subjects investigated.
The terrifying thing about this is that the numbers have increased by a factor of three over the past ten years. This is a very different story from that told today by the Parliamentary Secretary. I have said that we want to assist the Commonwealth, but the breakdown of the figures shows that 25 of the 60 go to the United States, 25 to the Commonwealth and ten elsewhere.
151 This is a completely one-way traffic. One could understand the advantages of a cross fertilisation of various industries if there were a two-way traffic. But this is an exodus from Britain from which there is not the slightest return. It is not only a matter of quantity. We learn that we have recently lost a number of outstanding scientists to the United States, including nine Fellows of the Royal Society. The Royal Society's Report says that the gaps created by their departure have caused difficulties in certain important branches of scientific research. It adds that there are now 20 Fellows in what are probably permanent appointments in the United States, which is approximately 3.5 per cent. of the total number of Fellows.
These are very high proportions indeed. They show that our accusations are correct. They show that we are, indeed, not training sufficient scientists, that we are not creating the right atmosphere in which to retain them and that those who remain here, like those at Risley, are not getting the sort of work which they should have if we are to induce them to stay with us.
My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East mentioned the report by the F.B.I. I want to say something about that as well, because it is a very important problem which the Government must also face. We are reaching a situation in which, instead of the State merely undertaking education and pure research, it is expected, especially when it is the customer, to pay large sums for research and development applicable to its orders. The Government should tell us precisely the direction in which we are to go in this matter. The F.B.I. Report says on page 5:Certain facts are operating to place limits on what private industry can do unaided. Modern developments are sometimes on so large a scale, or involve such costly apparatus, as to involve too great an economic base for single companies, or even consortia.In the course of its recommendations the F.B.I. asks for considerations of public moneys. At the top of page 9 we have what is a gem of its type. It says:As the proper criterion for a Government supported project is the benefit accruing to the national economy the Government should not be over-sensitive"—a beautiful expression— 152about possible advantages which might or might not accrue to the company to whom the project has been entrusted".That is beautiful philosophy. It is competitive private enterprise at its best. We are in the position in which, if we are to get the production we have ordered from a firm or firms, a condition is that we must pay a huge dole of public money to them.
I believe that out of this we must look at the attitude being adopted towards public enterprise by the Government. Last Wednesday, I listened in another place to the debate on the nuclear energy industry. I do not want to enter too much into the merits of the case, but I quote Lord Carrington who replied for the Government. He said:It was largely because substantial public funds would be needed to develop the new sources of power that a separate public corporation was set up. If development had been left to industry the expenditure involved and the remoteness of commercial financial return would have meant that the development could have taken place only very slowly, if indeed at all.The Minister is saying that such is the complexity of British industry now, so much need is there for research and development costing huge sums of money, that no private enterprise or consortia can possibly do it and, therefore, public enterprise must be set up which does not function on a profit basis and which is the only way in which the nation can make progress of this kind.
The noble Lord went to to say:Lastly, the consortia build the nuclear power stations under contract to the Generating Boards. Basic research, and the development of nuclear power systems were so costly and such a long-term operation that it would not have been undertaken except at public expense by a body such as the Atomic Energy Authority."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 10th July, 1963; Vol. 251, c. 1443–7.]At a time when the Leader of the House could be threatening more public ownership, in another place one of his colleagues said that the very condition upon which we could get new scientific industries was public ownership.
I am not saying that we grudge the great expenditure on research and development in these industries which is now taking place. It may well be that we are not as yet spending enough public money. What I am certain about is that we must now ask what return the nation is entitled to get from the expenditure 153 which is now entailed. This is part of the problem which hon. Members opposite have to answer and until they do we cannot get down to an analysis of their seriousness about their trying to get more and more science into industry.
There is a table of statistics which shows the results, or lack of them, of the Government's neglect of the application of science. Taking 1950 as the base year and equalling 100, West Germany now has 225, Italy 202, France 170, the Netherlands 158, and Britain 129. This is the direct result of the Government's failure to bring more and more possibility of better scientific education, to retain our scientists and to get more and more of a scientific base to British production.
As I said at the outset, I happen to believe that because of their philosophy hon. Members opposite cannot do this. This function is a function which the Labour movement has been produced to effect. In other words, we are not tied to any conventions of the past. I believe that we are a sort of political spearhead of the scientific revolution. Until we have a Government in power which can handle this thing despite conventions and with a grim determination to bring Britain abreast of the other great industrial manufacturing nations, until we can show the people that the expenditure of public money is necessary on education and on research and development, we cannot expect to get the results which we know that the genius of the British people is able to produce.
That is the message of this debate and I believe that it enhances the claim of the Labour movement that every hour that the discredited Government stay is a waste of time for the nation and that the sooner they go the better.
§ 8.59 p.m.
§ The Secretary for Technical Co-operation (Mr. Robert Carr)
Change is our ally but, alas, resistance to change is one of the strongest of human characteristics. This is one of the great problems which any government have to face in this as in many other respects. The hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) enjoyed himself. He usually does in these debates and I have much enjoyed debating Ministry of Labour matters with him in previous years.
154 The hon. Member had something to say about progressive Tories. The country, alas, also suffers from some diehard Socialists. The hon. Gentleman said in his closing remarks that the Labour Party was not tied to any conventions of the past, but surely no organisations and no institutions in this country are more bound to hallowed traditions of past outlook and methods than the trade unions? And this is believed by many people on the Left as well as on the Right. Many of these hallowed traditions are, of course, extremely good.
I agree, willingly, that employers also can be resistant to change, but when the hon. Gentleman tries to say that the Labour Party is not bound to any conventions of the past, I really think that he should think a little more deeply about it. He says that he wants a Government who are not too gentle with industry. Does he really mean that?
§ Mr. Carr
Is it only the employers with whom the hon. Gentleman wants to get tough, or does he want to get tough with the trade unions as well? I do not believe that we shall make progress in overcoming resistance to change wherever it may occur by getting tough with people in that sort of way, because most of these attitudes are based on experience in the past and have to be overcome by much more gentle and persuasive means.
The hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), in opening the debate, referred to purity of education in the classics and the humanities. Like the hon. Member for Newton, I sully this record. If the debate started with Front Bench speeches of this purity, I am afraid that it ends on a much more earthy note. I confess to having taken a degree in natural science and to having worked in industry at various levels as trainee, as technician, as technologist, and, finally, I liked to call myself a scientist. So that I have seen it at all levels.
I think that this experience is valuable, and I was glad to hear the remarks made today by a number of my hon. Friends 155 about the report on "Science in Industry", produced by a small committee of which I had the honour to be chairman. Like all chairmen, I did very little of the thinking. I merely presided, but my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) was a member of that committee, as were my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), and other hon. Members, and distinguished people from outside the House.
I was glad to hear the recommendations in that report urged as they were today by my hon. Friends. This puts me in a slightly interesting position. I joined my colleagues on that committee in urging these recommendations on the Government when I was a back-bencher. I believed in them then, and I believe in them now, and I shall continue, in so far as my opportunities in my present office allow, to go on urging those points on my right hon. Friends in the Government. Nobody gets everything he wants, but I believe that many developments which have already taken place are moving in some of the directions advocated in this report, and I am satisfied that all those measures, even if they are not all accepted, will be, and are being, seriously studied. This is a fact and not just a phrase.
In spite of the criticisms from the benches opposite, I think that there has been much agreement that considerable progress has been made in this matter in recent years. I assure the Committee that the Government are not complacent about what still has to be done. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green said, this matter of science is of particular importance for this country, more than for any other country, but I must reject the charge made against both my noble Friend and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for Science that they are complacent, or that there is some inherent streak in their philosophy which makes success and further progress in this field impossible. I cannot understand how so much progress has been made under my noble Friend's guidance in the last four years if that can be so, and this is a matter to which I hope to return later.
156 A great many points have been raised on both sides of the Committee and I cannot possibly hope to deal with all of them. My right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green said that this was a Committee of the House of Commons playing its proper part in the decision-taking process rather than commenting helplessly on decisions when they have been made. I can assure him and the whole Committee that the points which have been made, from wherever they came, will be properly considered.
Many of the points which have been raised today deal with questions of higher education. Although they are relevant to today's debate, the Committee will be aware that there is on Wednesday a debate dealing specifically with this question of higher education, so I am sure that hon. Members will excuse me if I do not answer many of those points tonight.
One point which was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely I particularly want to take up. That was the rôle of our scientific effort in the future of the Commonwealth. The British scientific effort overseas is something which has not been mentioned to any great extent in today's debate, and it is, of course, of particular interest to me in my capacity as Secretary for Technical Co-operation. I am sure that it is a matter of great importance to all developing countries and, in particular, to the Commonwealth.
In many of those countries it is natural to look to us in Britain as the source of the old skills and the old institutions: parliamentary government, our systems of law, public administration and the like. We are welcomed and looked to for guidance in these matters, and that is something which is immensely important. But, in the long run, it seems to me at least as important both for the Commonwealth and for the strengthening of British influence in the world that we should be looked upon also, and equally, as a source of new skills and new ideas. There, of course, one thinks particularly of the fields of science and technology.
The Committee should be aware therefore, that in the current year public expenditure on research overseas, mainly in the Commonwealth, amounts to no less than £2 million. We have a number of home-based scientific units all concerned 157 with the problems of the developing countries, mainly in the Commonwealth. There is the Anti-locust Research Centre, in which I think that it is generally accepted we lead the world and give service not only in the Commonwealth countries, but; many others as well. There is the Tropical Products Institute, the Tropical Division of the Road Research Laboratory and the Building Research Station. There is the Tropical Stored Products Centre in association with the Agricultural Research Council and the Tropical Medicine Research Board working in collaboration with the Medical Research Council.
Then, in the Directorate of Overseas Surveys for which my Department is responsible we have a Land Use Section, which we are now strengthening further, and where soil scientists are doing immensely valuable scientific work in helping the development of the natural resources of many of the developing countries. This adds up to a very important effort and one which too often is not talked about and not known.
Not only do we do all this in this country, but we also help to maintain in whole or in part various centres overseas—Jamaica, Gambia, the Cameroon Republic, to give one or two examples. We sustain the post-graduate school of the Faculty of Agriculture in Trinidad, and altogether, as far as we can estimate at the moment, we have serving abroad, in these developing countries, just over 2,000 scientists.
This is a two-way traffic because, in addition to the 2,000 scientists serving overseas, which is a pretty substantial call on our scientific manpower we also welcome over here—and there is some immigration of people in this field—about 4,300 scientific students at our universities and about 8,600 at technical colleges. This is a very substantial effort in assisting scientific development in Commonwealth countries and also in other underdeveloped countries. I felt that no debate on the subject of science and Government scientific effort would be complete without drawing the attention of the Committee to the important part played overseas in this way, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely for stressing its importance.
I now want to turn my attention to what, from such practical experience as 158 I have had, I believe to be an immensely important question when considering the development of science and technology in this country. We clamour for more money. We clamour for more scientists, more technologists, and more laboratories—and all these are very important. We have been getting more and more of them, but we still need more and more. But proper results will not be achieved unless we back this direct increase in our scientific effort with the right sort of supporting effort. We must get the best use out of our scientists and technologists, and this is a field in which Britain has not always been very good.
My experience, such as it is, leads me to believe that concentration on this supporting effort is at least as important as concentration on still further expanding the numbers of scientists and technologists and the like, important though that is. Less newsworthy and less exciting, but equally important. Here I agree in part with what was said by the hon. Member for Coventry, East and also by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green and others—that one of the greatest problems that we have is to overcome the separation which exists in this country between scientists and technologists, and managers, or administrators. Hon. Members are correct when they say that part of this problem springs from the bias in our social system. I do not believe that this is something which can be corrected by brute force. More subtlety, patience and persuasion is needed.
But, principally, we must go about the problem by making these different sorts of people rub shoulders. We have to get our scientists, economists and accountants rubbing shoulders and working with managers and administrators, both in industry and the Government. Here, we come straight up against the question of the appropriate staffing of Government Departments, which has been mentioned by many hon. Members and which was one of the recommendations in the report to which some of my right hon. and hon. Friends have referred.
This and other problems about the organisation of Government scientific administration have been referred to the Trend Committee, which is expected to report in the next few months. I simply cannot antic pate the findings of that 159 Committee. But hon. Members should not be sceptical about such a Committee's need to study this question. The sort of proposals which are made raise important innovations, which need study—and they are being studied, although I cannot forecast the result.
I think that it should be pointed out that, in principle, the Government have already shown that there is nothing against the adoption of the sort of recommendations people have been talking about today, and perhaps the most outstanding proof of that, but only one example, is the action taken by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Public Building and Works in setting up his new Development Section under Sir Donald Gibson. There are also economists in the Treasury, some of whom have not spent their lives there—the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government is a case in point. So this principle of bringing in economists and scientists to assist in this sort of planning and administrating is something which is accepted in principle by the Government already, but the extent and the form that it should take is, as I say, a matter now being considered by the Trend Committee.
I want to emphasise that this consideration by the Trend Committee is important not only in relation to the decision taking process in allocating priorities between our scientific resources, and in setting the pattern of our effort in. a more logical menner—as my right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green said, in a manner more consciously consistent with a judgment of economic advantage; it is not only that sort of issue which is at stake but the much wider issue of the whole outlook of Government in pushing it in a directed and conscious manner. We have to make sure that the best use is made of the Government's power as a buyer, and efforts are already made in that direction and have been for a long time, so there is nothing new in that.
But we must realise that changes by the Government, whether changes in the tax structure, tariffs, or other fields of policy, can affect scientific and technical progress, either for good or for ill. What I am sure we are all seeking for, the Government as much as anybody else, is 160 to make sure that these considerations are taken into account. It is the methods which must be carefully looked at and decisions taken upon.
Following up this theme of supporting our direct scientific effort, I think that the Committee should be aware of some of the other things the Government have recently done, for example, the most important Measure, included in. the recent Finance Bill, for the relief of capital expenditure connected with scientific research. That relief will now be given to a trader in one single allowance of 100 per cent. instead of spreading it, as before, over five years. Expenditure on new buildings, plant and machinery used for scientific research in connection with a trade will qualify for the increase in the investment allowance from 20 per cent. to 30 per cent. So the total allowance is thus 130 per cent of the cost, and I venture to suggest that this is, by any standard, an important and generous encouragement to the development of science and technology in industry.
Then another very important work which the Government have been sponsoring in recent years, though, perhaps, its scale can be still further increased, is trying to help industry to identify its needs for scientific and technological advance and stimulating action to satisfy those needs. The Committee ought to bear in mind the various inquiries carried out by the D.S.I.R. into industries such as the machine tool industry, and shipbuilding and marine engineering, and, most recently, by the Feilden Committee into engineering design, whose report, as my hon. Friend said, is due to be published in a few days' time. It is necessary to back up scientific effort with an effort to improve the quality of management, because there is undoubtedly a direct correlation between a scientific approach to management itself and the comprehension of technical opportunities and needs. Only a few weeks ago the Government announced further financial support of universities to help in an increase in management studies.
Social studies are also important because, as I said in my opening remarks, we are here dealing to a large extent with human attitudes, and the work done by the Social Sciences Committee of the D.S.I.R. in recent years has been 161 valuable. Only just under a month ago the Government announced the setting up of a committee under the chairmanship of Lord Heyworth to make a further survey into the needs for research in the social sciences.
§ Mr. Carr
On the whole it is wiser to do these things with one's eyes open and after proper study. As I said, much important work has been done in this by D.S.I.R. and this is a very proper follow-up.
Another most important matter which has been mentioned today is development contracts. This is an obvious way in which the Government can stimulate the growth of science and technology in industry, and it is not new. It is already an established practice. There are already three examples of civil development contracts which have been placed, the total value of which is £600,000, a fairly sizeable sum, and a fourth project of some importance is under negotiation.
D.S.I.R. is taking action to try to speed this progress. It has not been going as fast as we should like. Hitherto, it has been a matter of waiting for industry to come forward with suggestions. For the future, in the machine tool industry as a start, we have set up a joint committee which will positively go out to look for proposals and which will be assisted in its looking by specialist help where it may be required. If this machinery works in the machine tool industry, it will be adopted for other industries, too. D.S.I.R. is going out to advertise more widely the fact that it is willing and able to consider the granting of civil development contracts.
Another recent development which is important and which is allied to it is the fact that there have been earmarked grants for research associations, which I think meets one of the points in the report to which my hon. Friend referred and which has been mentioned by hon. Members opposite. In this broad field of development contracts we must not forget the Concord airliner project. This 162 may not be a development contract in the ordinary sense, but it is clearly an extremely important project in which Government money is being spent, in co-operation with another country, not simply to produce a new generation of air liner, which we hope in the end will stand on its own commercial merit, but also in the process to promote developments in many important by-products in the technological field.
§ Mr. Lubbock
In discussing this project will the Minister answer a question which he has been asked about how the Government will recoup this money which they are pumping into private industry—£85 million?
§ Mr. Carr
Clearly, I cannot do that tonight. We cannot have this both ways. Proper provision must be made for a fair return for the Government, and it will be made, but some pump priming must be done in this field and therefore some risks must be taken on all sides for the benefits to be gained.
My hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) asked about space. The Government's space programme has three clearly defined aims. The first is research into conditions in space by sending up sounding rockets and satellites like Aerial, and joining in the European Space Research Organisation. Secondly, the Government are supporting a research programme of launcher technology with the European Launcher Development Organisation, based on Blue Streak. Finally, there is a programme of research on satellite communications run by the Post Office.
We do not believe that this country can on its own, or even in co-operation, as we are co-operating, with European countries, embark on a vast programme. It would be too big a diversion. However, we believe that we have clear objectives which we are pushing forward in a determined and properly planned way.
In conclusion, I want to draw together some of the overall isues which have been raised in the debate by the Opposition. A great deal has been made about the brain drain. It is a serious loss, but it is absolute nonsense for the hon. Member for Newton to say that there is not the slightest return. The new head of the National Chemical Laboratory is a New Zealander who went to America, is a professor in 163 America, and is now coming here to head our National Chemical Laboratory. The chairman of the very Royal Society Committee whose report has been quoted so much today was himself at one time a professor at an American university. It is not right to paint such a picture of gloom as the hon. Member for Coventry, East painted.
If everything is so bad and if morale is so low, how does one explain the galaxy of Nobel Prize winners? Of course, the losses are serious. Nobody denies that, but it is nonsense to exaggerate in the way that hon. Members opposite do.
There is one other thing which shows just how nonsensical it is. Where are these people going to—to America. What is America? Is it the home, the Mecca, of Socialist planning? We have been told today that these problems cannot be solved under a free enterprise philosophy. It is relevant to note that these scientists are going from here, not to a Mecca of Socialist planning, but to a Mecca of free enterprise. The argument of the Socialist Party is nonsensical.
§ The hon. Member for Coventry, East said that my noble Friend and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary were proud of their incapacity to do anything. The total civil expenditure on research has increased by 193 per cent. since 1955. The total Government expenditure on civil research has increased by 212 per cent. between 1955 and 1961–62 and is rising by a further 25per cent. this year. A tremendous effort is being made all the way along the line. The total expenditure by private industry has also risen by 210 per cent. in these years. The percentage of our gross national product being spent on research and development is now equal to that of the United States of America and higher than that of either France or Germany. If this is an incapacity to do anything, we say, "Give us more of it and let us make more progress".
§ Question put:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 186, Noes 235.167
|Division No. 162.]||AYES||[9.28 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Donnelly, Desmond||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Albu, Austen||Driberg, Tom||Hunter, A. E.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Duffy, A. E. P.||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Barnett, Guy||Edelman, Maurice||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)|
|Beaney, Alan||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Janner, Sir Barnett|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas|
|Benson, Sir George||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Blyton, William||Evans, Albert||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Boardman, H.||Fernyhough, E.||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Finch, Harold||Kelley, Richard|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S.W.)||Fitch, Alan||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Bowles, Frank||Fletcher, Eric||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Boyden, James||Foley, M.||Lawson, George|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Bradley, Tom||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Galpern, Sir Myer||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Ginsburg, David||Lipton, Marcus|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gourlay, Harry||Loughlin, Charles|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Greenwood, Anthony||Lubbock, Eric|
|Callaghan, James||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||MacColl, James|
|Carmichael, Neil||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||MacDermot, Niall|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Chapman, Donald||Gunter, Ray||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||McLeavy, Frank|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hannan, William||Manuel, Archie|
|Cronin, John||Harper, Joseph||Mapp, Charles|
|Crosland, Anthony||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Marsh, Richard|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hayman, F. H.||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Healey, Denis||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Dalyell, Tam||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Millan, Bruce|
|Darling, George||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Milne, Edward|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hilton, A. V.||Mitchison, G. R,|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Holman, Percy||Monslow, Walter|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Houghton, Douglas||Moody, A. S.|
|Deer, George||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Moyle, Arthur|
|Dempsey, James||Hoy, James H.||Mulley, Frederick|
|Dodds, Norman||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||O'Malley, B. K.|
|Oswald, Thomas||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Owen, Will||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Paget, R. T.||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Ross, William||Tomney, Frank|
|Parker, John||Silkin, J.||Wade, Donald|
|Paton, John||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Skeffington, Arthur||Watkins, Tudor|
|Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Weitzman, David|
|Peart, Frederick||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Popplewell, Ernest||Small, William||Whitlock, William|
|Prentice, R. E.||Sorensen, R. W.||Wigg, George|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Probert, Arthur||Spriggs, Leslie||Willey, Frederick|
|Proctor, W. T.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Stonehouse, John||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Randall, Harry||Stones, William||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Rankin, John||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Redhead, E. C.||Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)||Woof, Robert|
|Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)||Swain, Thomas||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Reid, William||Swingler, Stephen||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Reynolds, G. W.||Symonds, J. B.|
|Rhodes, H.||Taverne, D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Mr. McCann and Mr. Ifor Davies|
|Aitken, Sir William||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Allason, James||Doughty, Charles||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Drayson, G. B.||Kimball, Marcus|
|Arbuthnot, John||du Cann, Edward||Kirk, Peter|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Eden, John||Kitson, Timothy|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Barber, Anthony||Elliott, R. W. (Newc'tle-upon-Tyne, N,)||Leather, Sir Edwin|
|Barlow, Sir John||Emery, Peter||Leavey, J. A.|
|Barter, John||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Leburn, Gilmour|
|Batsford, Brian||Errington, Sir Eric||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lindsay, Sir Martin|
|Bell, Ronald||Fell, Anthony||Linstead, Sir Hugh|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Fisher, Nigel||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Forrest, George||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Foster, John||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn|
|Bidgood, John C.||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Biffen, John||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Freeth, Denzil||MacArthur, Ian|
|Bingham, R. M.||Gibson-Watt, David||McLaren, Martin|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Bishop, F. P.||Glover, Sir Douglas||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||McMaster, Stanley R.|
|Bossom, Hon. Clive||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Goodhew, Victor||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Gough, Frederick||Maitland, Sir John|
|Braine, Bernard||Gower, Raymond||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Brewis, John||Green, Alan||Marten, Neil|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Grosvenor, Lord Robert||Mathew, Robert (Honlton)|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Brooman-White, R.||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Mawby, Ray|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Buck, Antony||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Bullard, Denys||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Morgan, William|
|Burden, F. A.||Hastings, Stephen||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Neave, Airey|
|Carr, Rt. Hon. Robert (Mitcham)||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hendry, Forbes||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Clarke, Brig, Terence(Portsmth, W.)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Orr-Ewing, Sir Charles|
|Cole, Norman||Holland, Philip||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Cooke, Robert||Hopkins, Alan||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hornby, R. P.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Costain, A. P.||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Coulson, Michael||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hughes-Young, Michael||Peel, John|
|Crowder, F. P.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Cunningham, Knox||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Curran, Charles||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Pott, Percivall|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig, Sir Otho||Stanley, Hon. Richard||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Pym, Francis||Stevens, Geoffrey||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Quennell, Miss J. M.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell|
|Ramsden, James||Storey, Sir Samuel||Walder, David|
|Rawlinson, Sir Peter||Studholme, Sir Henry||Walker, Peter|
|Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Summers, Sir Spencer||Wall, Patrick|
|Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)||Talbot, John E.||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Rees-Davies, W. R. (Isle of Thanet)||Tapsell, Peter||Webster, David|
|Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)||Whitelaw, William|
|Robson Brown, Sir William||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Russell, Ronald||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Thomas, Peter (Conway)||Wise, A. R.|
|Seymour, Leslie||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Sharples, Richard||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Woollam, John|
|Shepherd, William||Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Turner, Colin||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Smithers, Peter||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
|Spearman, Sir Alexander||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Mr. Finlay.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ It being after half-past Nine o'clock, The Chairman proceeded, pursuant to Standing Order No. 16 (Business of Supply), to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the Vote under consideration.
§ Question put and agreed.
§ The Chairman then proceeded forthwith to put severally the Questions, That the total amounts of the Votes outstanding in the several Classes of the Civil Estimates, including Supplementary Estimates, and the total amounts of the Votes outstanding in the Ministry of Defence Estimate, and in the Navy, the Army, and the Air Estimates, be granted for the Services defined in those Classes and Estimates; and that sanction be given to the application of the sums temporarily authorised in respect of the Navy, Army and Air Services [Expenditure]: