HC Deb 21 March 1963 vol 674 cc552-4
22. Mr. Albu

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to increase the funds available to support economic research.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Much economic research is undertaken in the universities out of Government grants, and it is for the universities to decide what part of these grants, now greatly increased, should be devoted to this purpose. Economic research directly carried out or commissioned by Government Departments, including the D.S.I.R., the Ministries of Transport, Housing and Local Government and Agriculture, Scottish Development Department and Treasury, has greatly increased in recent years and is still increasing.

Mr. Albu

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the report of the Royal Economic Society in which attention is drawn to the inadequacy of the funds available for research? In view of the lip-service which the Government are at present paying to economic planning, does the Chief Secretary not think that more should be done?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I saw the very interesting article to which the hon. Gentleman refers, but I do not think it followed his suggestion that we were paying lip-service to anything.

Sir C. Osborne

Is any adequate economic research being done into the problems and evils of inflation?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

That would no doubt come within the purview of the various bodies to which I have referred, as I think my hon. Friend knows.

Mr. Callaghan

Has the Chief Secretary seen the figures for industrial production for December showing that the original figure of 115 has now had to be reduced to 111? Does not that show that there must be a great inadequacy in Government information in these services?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not think that that has any bearing whatever on the question of economic research. The matter to which the hon. Gentleman refers concerns the question of whether the statistical machinery at the disposal of the Government, particularly in regard to provisional figures which the House always wants quickly, is adequate.