§ 3.35 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)
I beg to move,That item Class VII, Vote 2, Office of the Lord President and Minister for Science, be reduced by £1,000.In opening this debate I wish to emphasise that though we shall be investigating a small Ministry we shall inevitably be concerning ourselves mostly with a very considerable Minister, because the Lord President of the Council has been responsible for science ever since he became Lord President in 1957. After the General Election, in order to fulfil an election pledge, he added the title of Minister for Science, but I think it fair to say that we had little more than a change of title. What we have to study is what he has held to be the job of the Government in science for the last seven years.
I have selected in this investigation three questions which I want to consider. First, I ask myself how the Minister has been looking after the welfare of the scientists for whom he is directly responsible. Secondly, I want to discuss how he has looked after the supply of scientists from our universities. Thirdly, I want to study with him how he has sought to apply science to industry, in particular to redress the weakness in technology which is universally agreed to be the main problem and obstacle to further expansion in this country.
40 I start with a narrow problem, the problem of the civil servants and scientists under the Minister's control. I start, therefore, with the problem of the Atomic Energy Authority, which, I suppose, is the largest single science research institution in the country, with more capital invested in it and certainly with a bigger single outlay on science than any other institution. I need not burden the Committee with the history of the Atomic Energy Authority. There was a crash programme to equip the United Kingdom with a nuclear deterrent. Throughout the 1950s huge sums of money were poured into it and it expanded at an annual rate of 8,500,000 8 per cent.
Then, at the end of 1961, the position changed suddenly. Since then we have had a whole series of redundancies and threats of redundancies. We have had a change of policy which led to slowing down at Capenhurst by which 350 non-industrial staff were affected, a reduction of activity at Aldermaston, and the engineering group—a force of 1,900 highly skilled people—has been run down to below 1,300.
I do not want to discuss in detail—we do not know enough precisely to discuss in detail—what is happening at the A.E.A. I am concerned with a narrower question. It seems that there were no plans whatever either in the Authority or at Government level to handle the reduction in scope of the Authority and make use of its highly experienced professional and scientific staff on other work. As a result, we have had a steady demoralisation of scientists and technicians at Aldermaston and elsewhere.
In 1957, the then Prime Minister gave the most solemn pledges to workers in the A.E.A. He said:You are playing your full role in the work towards disarmament; you won't have wasted your time; that will be the true fruition of all that you are doing, and in that event, of course, skill and knowledge that I saw in these workshops, in these laboratories, in all the astounding developments of technique, as I went round—all the skill and knowledge will then be equally needed in the task of peaceful development.Some of the scientists and technicians are beginning to wonder whether those words were empty words and whether that their skills are equally needed when the Government's interest in nuclear weapons declines. I therefore ask the 41 Minister: is he prepared to make good the pledge of 1957? Is their work needed and when will he tell them what plans he has for transferring them to useful activities now that the directive is entirely changed?
Having asked that one question about the civil servants under his control, I turn to the first main question I want to raise in the debate. It is the problem of the supply of scientists, which is connected with what is called the "brain drain". We have had two debates on this subject. It was debated in another place in February last year. It was debated here in July last year. The last thing I want to do is to repeat all the arguments used, but I want to point out two things to the Committee.
First of all, despite what hon. Members opposite have said here and in the Press, we, of course, are not opposed to a healthy interchange of scientists. Everyone wants to see an interchange of scientists between country and country. I would add that I believe that one of the healthiest exports we can make to the under-developed territories is that of scientists and technologists. So this is not the issue that we are discussing.
We are discussing a very specific issue, to which attention was called by the Royal Society in a special Report, and that is the one-way flow to the United States of America, which is at present running at about 8 per cent. of our Ph.Ds. per year. Much attention has been concentrated on pure scientists. I would like to remind the Committee that the loss of engineers is probably even graver than the loss of pure scientists. We do not have figures, except those of American immigration, but it looks as though they are extremely heavy.
Only this morning, I received a letter from a very distinguished technologist describing the situation in the following terms. He wrote:American companies are swamped with applications from British engineers, but there is no organisation for counting the emigrants. The reason is quite simply that there are no jobs in this country. The Scientific register of the Ministry of Labour has been shut down: the P. and E. Department say that they have no posts at over £2,000. Somewhere between 35 and 4C years of age, the technologists runs into a promotion block.42 He may have been wrong, but he is somewhat confirmed by the fact that when we go to our colleges of technology, we discovered that the Dip. Tech. courses for mechanical engineering are not fully manned. That seems to me to indicate that industry here shows nothing like the interest in engineers that American industry does, and that the status of the engineer for that reason suffers in this country. I do not think that we can say any more about this, because the information is not there, except to ask the Minister what he intends to do about this tremendous drain in a very scarce commodity in this country.
I turn from the engineers to another group.
§ Sir Arthur Vere Harvey (Macclesfield)
The hon. Gentleman says that the information is not available. If he asked the Society of British Aircraft Constructors it could give him information on this point. The figures are remarkably low. The total, retirements, deaths and emigration, runs at less than 2 per cent.
§ Mr. Crossman
That is the aircraft industry. We are discussing technology in general.
I want to turn from that to another neglected part because we talk sometimes as though natural scientists are the only people to be concerned with in the universities and we forget about the social scientists and the humanities. People are complaining of frustration in the universities today and of being denied even the necessities of work. I think that the social scientist has probably an even stronger case' than the natural scientist.
I had a letter last week from someone in Birmingham commenting on Professor Bush's departure to the U.S.A. He said of his own social science faculty:The loss from our faculty is not severe. Only one of our colleagues has emigrated permanently to the States, most of them play it cool and take leave of absence in the States, I or even 2 years out of every 3. We have roughly 20 per cent. of the Faculty abroad on such schemes We replaced them with temporaries of often rather poor calibre. This is a form of hidden emigration which I have not seen mentioned.He then went on to mention a complaint which I have had from three other universities—of the failure of British 43 computers. He gave an interesting example of the KDF9 computer, which Birmingham University ordered from English Electric three years ago:Due for delivery January 1962, arrived January 1963, it has never done a day's work; and we are now negotiating for compensation".The trouble, of course, is not only computers. As any social scientist knows, apart from Members of the House of Commons no one has worse accommodation or worse equipment than the academic social scientist or humanist. The only difference is that he can emigrate to America when a job is offered him. We are not offered Senatorships; if we were I am not sure how many of us would take them.
Having reminded ourselves that engineers and social scientists ought to be considered, let us turn to the major problem which faces us in terms of our future —the drain of natural scientists. This debate has been referred to as a newspaper stunt and as a party stunt. All I can say to the Committee is that when I look back to the debate last July, I have nothing to alter in what I then said on the subject. Since last July, what we said from this House and the warning we gave have been confirmed by the Minister's own Advisory Council, whose Report was published in October, 1963.
The Report and Appendix A tell the Minister what is wrong. The Report tells him what has been utterly deplorable in the universities and how to put it right. It makes a whole series of specific suggestions and I should like the Minister to go through them and tell us how many he has dealt with.
Let us take the central issue of salaries. I do not think that it is practicable to compete in top-level salaries with the United States of America. But it seems to me quite sensible to suggest that we ought at least to give our young men a chance by rapidly rising salary scales and, above all, by promising them jobs, before they set out for America, on their return to this country. Many scientists are quite ready to work in the atmosphere of this country if conditions are comparable.
Here, I wish to deal with a point brought to our attention by many people who have written to us—the problem of those who work in old buildings. I gather that in the universities today, if there is 44 a new science building or a new laboratory, roughly 25 per cent. of the capital cost for equipping it is provided, but if there are old buildings there is no equipment grant. Consequently, the scientists who live in the old buildings are exasperated to see that those in the new buildings not only have their new buildings but have new equipment, too. Will the Minister tell us what steps are being taken to bring the equipment in the old buildings up to modern levels?
It is obvious that when the new and expensive equipment is produced it involves increased maintenance costs, subsidiary equipment, and so on. Consequently, the more equipment one has, the more one's overheads rise. There is a proposal in the Report of the Advisory Council that there should be a grant to the universities of £200 for each postgraduate they take on. Does the Minister think that grant sufficient for the job of ensuring that the universities can carry on in their laboratories and not feel pinched after the new equipment has been provided and not feel the atmosphere of poverty which they describe searching round them once again?
Next, I come to by far the most important problem in this issue—that of promotion. The key feature which distinguishes life in America from life in this country is the rapidity of promotion for young men—the chance of a young man becoming a professor while he is at his best as a researcher. This is almost entirely due to the fact that in American universities there are 10, 12 or 14 professors in the physics or chemistry faculty. This has the great advantage in that one can not only get away from the personal autocracy of the department, which is dangerous, but one can share the administrative chores among professors. In many cases the headship of the department is rotated and the chair is taken by a different professor each year. It seems to me that a large increase in professorships is the most important single action which we require in those departments from which the drain is chiefly proceeding.
But increasing professorships has its difficulties. I want to put to the Committee and to the Minister a very serious problem which I think we must face as a Committee, because it affects our whole policy to the universities. It is 45 clear that when the Medical Research Council, or D.S.I.R., goes to the university and offers a very large sum of money for the establishment of an institute with three or four professors, the university must say to itself, "This is all very well. They will establish it, but they will demand that after a period of years we should take it over. If we take it over we shall have to maintain it, to pay the salaries and to provide the equipment. Where are the funds to come from?"
Some universities go a stage further and say, "By accepting this from the Government we are limiting our freedom of choice in research because we have to foreclose on other types of research. If we accept the proposal of the Medical Research Council in a particular type of work, in five years' time we must commit money to maintain it, and this will prevent us from having free development of research".
Only the other day there was an example of this at Cambridge. Two years ago an offer was made informally to Cambridge from D.S.I.R., I think, to establish an Institute of Mathematical Astronomy. There were to be three new professors, two new readers and a magnificent new computer at a cost of £750,000 to £1 million. The faculty wanted it, but the faculty board turned it down in its early stages, before firm negotiations had begun, on the ground that Cambridge was not prepared to be ordered by D.S.I.R. to do this or that work.
I understand why it did so. But we must also understand that from the point of view of scientific freedom the refusal of Cambridge to expand means that young mathematical astronomers are driven to go elsewhere, where there are professorships. If one refuses to make new professorships on the ground that one does not want to expand at the cost of the Government, one thereby limits the freedom not of the university but of the individual researcher.
Here I come to a point near to the Minister. It is undoubtedly true that what would in any way be a difficult relationship between the research councils initiating new projects and the universities in due course taking them on is vastly accentuated by the cut in the 46 University Grants Committee's grant two years ago. If he cuts back the minimum for which the Committee asks, then the universities cannot take over and maintain what the research councils started on the assumption that the universities would take it over. The more we study the case of Professor Bush or anyone else the more we see that the stringency in the universities is due to the Government's resolute determination to insist on a rapid expansion of student numbers, and to insist on the research councils establishing new institutes while refusing U.G.C. grants sufficient to enable the universities to match that increase.
We warned the Government last July that if they rapidly increased the student population without upping the grant for research they would make research conditions a great deal worse. They will drive those who want to do research away; they will tempt even more of them to go abroad. I am afraid that this is what has happened and that it has happened for the reasons which we have given.
It is here that the Minister's own personal attitude is so insufferable. I do not want to go back to his unfortunate February speech. I have a copy of it here, but I will not quote it. He described the "parasitism" of the Americans as the chief cause of the "brain drain". I will not go back to his speech, because even after Cambridge had shown its indignation by seeking not to give him an honorary degree the Minister was still implacably adopting this line.
I have received a letter from a young researcher who allowed me to repeat here the correspondence which he had with the Minister. I cannot give his name, but I will give it to the Minister afterwards if he asks for it. He wrote to the Minister as follows:I think it may be pertinent to the present discussion concerning the emigration of British scientists to North America to relate two recent experiences. I was recently asked to attend an interview in London concerning my application for a D.S.I.R. research fellowship. I was previously informed that my travelling expenses would be refunded. However, I found that a fixed sum of 12s. 6d. was deducted from the cost of the railway fare for an unspecified reason.I later applied to D.S.I.R. for a grant to attend a N.A.T.O. study conference in Cambridge this year. I am a research student about to submit a dissertation for a Ph.D. degree. The application was approved by my 47 professor. D.S.I.R. asked me to submit an estimate for expenses after subtracting the sum which I would save by not living at home. This was fair enough, and I applied for the minimum cost of £18. D.S.I.R. were very pleased to inform me that my application had been approved, and they were prepared to provide up to £6.I have written this letter to you in the first instance rather than to the Press, since I would appreciate an assurance that the Government is taking seriously its responsibilities to the scientists it is so anxious to keep.The Minister replied as follows:Thank you for your letter. I will draw the attention of the D.S.I.R. to what you say. Whether you accept an appointment at an American University should depend on your preference as between serving your own country or America…and on that issue the weight you attach to salary will depend upon your own scale of values in life. Your children, however, will not in the United States get either a school education up to what you have yourself received; or a training award from any public body likely to be any better to that which you describe as an insult from D.S.I.R. You will, in short, have cashed in on this country's superior social services to the advantage of U.S.A. whose standard of life (thanks to immunity from some of the consequences of two world wars) is about three times our own.I think that I heard the Minister say sotto voce,"It is a damned good letter".
§ The Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science (Mr. Quintin Hogg)
I said that I stand by every word of it.
§ Mr. Crossman
That is exactly what I hoped to hear and expected to hear from the Minister, because I know him very well.
But I ask him whether he thinks that a Minister attempting this kind of magisterial or, shall I say, governessy line with our scientists is deterring them from going or pushing them over there. I am sure that if I received a lecture letter of this tone from the Minister, a letter which is out of touch with some of the realities, I should scarcely believe it. If the Minister had said, "You should remember one or two of these things, but I admit that our equipment and conditions are much worse than theirs, I admit that we have been guilty of neglect, and we will put this right". —that would be different; but this is a letter which implies that in not one iota is there anything wrong or anything to be improved.
§ Mr. Crossman
The interjection, if I heard it correctly, was a suggestion that I might like to go to America. The attitude of the Conservative Party is divided into two. There are those who attack us for being internationalists and those who attack us for being Chauvinists in mentioning the "brain drain" at all. The hon. Member had better curtail his comments in order not to embarrass his colleagues.
We have a very clear issue here. If the Minister feels satisfied that the right way to handle the scientists is to lecture them like that, all I can tell him is that if he goes to Cambridge or any other university and discovers how they have reacted to it, he will find that they have not responded warmly to his magisterial attitude. They feel insulted, and they feel that he is out of touch with reality.
He has received from his own Advisory Committee a report which substantiates the gravity of the "brain drain" and substantiates that it could be largely stopped, though not completely, by a series of measures, only one or two of which he has taken. I want to be practical and to repeat to him what we said last July.
We said, in a rough calculation, that for the period of the Robbins crash programme an extra £30 million a year should be allocated solely and simply to the maintenance of research standards. We were challenged last time, and I have, therefore, broken that down roughly and as best I can. We think that we need a special recurrent grant, in order to keep the universities going during an 8.8 per cent. annual student increase, of £7 million a year.
We think that he has to give at least £10 million per annum for the backlog of equipment in the old buildings—if he is to get his professors. He will have to raise the equipment allowance from £200 to £500 for post-graduates, and it will need about £8 million for extra research. That, in total, is the kind of sum that would change the atmosphere of the universities, and would enable one to know that a man who went to America was going simply for the higher salary and not for the 49 purpose of enabling himself to do a better job and get on better in his work.
From the "brain drain," I want to turn to the second main area of this debate, and that is civil research. We on this side regard that as an area of the greatest importance because, in our view, what the State did in applying science in defence—in military research —in the 17 or 18 years after the war must he done on the same scale in regard to civil research. And that is what is needed for our industry if we are to expand.
I would remind the Minister, although I believe that I need not, that it was not only we who said that; the Federation of British Industries argued in a most able pamphlet last July the essential need for large-scale State-financed civil research. It said that another £50 million added to our present expenditure a year was required to help private industry to compete fairly against our competitors abroad.
During the last three or four years we have seen the reorganisation of the Ministry of Defence, with the Minister of Defence having his Chief Scientific Adviser, with direct access and very great powers. We think it absolutely essential to have a Minister of Industry and Technology, with his Chief Scientific Adviser in the same commanding position in that Ministry and giving to the Minister the same kind of advice that the Minister of Defence is getting from his Chief Scientific Adviser.
What has actually happened? What have the Government—
§ Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
Before the hon. Member passes from that point, could he clear up the proposal he is now making about this Ministry? His right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition went on record on 19th November as suggesting that the Ministry of Aviation should be completely recruited into a Ministry of Research and Technology. Which are we now talking about? The hon. Gentleman has rather referred to the Ministry of Defence.
I must apologise to the hon. Member, but I think that he misheard me. I said that we must have a Ministry for Civil Research with 50 the same powers and drive as the Minister of Defence operates in military spheres. That was my point. We want a Ministry of that importance, and a Minister or that rank in the Cabinet, and a Minister who will do a whole-time job.
What do the Government propose to do? As I understand it, they propose first to accept the Trend Report, and then to modify the Trend Report in two particulars only: first, by allowing N.R.D.C. t3 continue under the Board of Trade, a id, secondly, by merging with the Ministry for Science the Ministry of Education under a Secretary of State for Science and Education—I think that it is "for" and not "of"?
§ Mr. Crossman
Then it is now in education as it used to be in science.
I doubt whether any Government Report of recent years has had such a tepid reception from the experts as has the Trend Report. I have been looking through the list, from Sir Bernard Lovell, who deeply regretted the disappearance of D.S.I.R, to Charles Carter, who describes it as…in my view, quite the most harmful of the possible divisions of responsibility",to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) who, in a very acid comment, said:…to give to a Department whose interests were overwhelmingly academic the responsibility for promoting science in industry, could scarcely bring about a new emphasis on application.Finally, and perhaps the best of all, there is what Mr. Duckworth, Chief of N.R.D.C., has said:The selection of subjects for development should be made on an utterly different basis "—that is, from research:i.e. to make a profit—and, indeed, science plays a relatively small part in the decision. This is not, therefore, a matter for the practising scientists.He also said:The Corporation believes that it was a mistake for the Committee to consider development as a minor part of science or research, and that it must be considered in relation to tie overall needs of industry in the application of scientific research and method.Apart from the Minister, no one has had a warm word for the Trend Report. 51 I have a suspicion that when the Report first came out the Minister hoped for something rather better because he wanted to get the Civil Service to give its comments as quickly as possible. But the more he heard the more doubts he had. We now have Trend modified by the Minister. Since he has now left N.R.D.C. to the Board of Trade, are we now to have two Ministers—he, as Secretary of State for Education, and the President of the Board of Trade—each competing—the Board of Trade with N.R.D.C. and he with his own brand new establishment? Is that what he seriously proposes?
I hold the view that being Secretary of State for Education is a whole-time job. I can understand the view that being Minister of Technology is a whole-time job, but I cannot believe that any sane man can say that one man can be in complete control of education, of research and of the whole application of science to industry.
I must say that the reaction to his proposal from the civil servants concerned has been one of profound indignation. The general secretary of their professional organisation sent a letter to the Prime Minister, part of which was printed in the Press, in which he says:It is my duty, however, to advise you that your decision has caused wide dismay in the professional, scientific and technical Civil Service.He then admirably develops the need for a…Minister of Cabinet rank supported by a major Department of State. He should be unencumbered by other departmental responsibilities, and should, in brief, undertake in respect of civil science the responsibilities which the Minister of Defence now has in respect of defence science.The writer put his case with extreme moderation, and ended with the following thought-provoking words:The decisions which you "—that is, the Prime Minister:announced on the 6th February which abolish the Ministry for Science has contributed to the developing crisis of confidence among scientists and engineers. This is really the heart of the matter. It is crucial that the Government should take decisions which will command the respect of scientists and engineers and restore their confidence in the future of science in this country.That is a letter from the general secretary of the organisation that represents 52 these scientists and technicians, and he should not be laughed aside. The Economist had probably the most derisory comment on the decision that I have ever read.
I have made the effort in the last week to talk to as many scientists, technologists and businessmen as I could. Last week, I was in the company of 12 fairly distinguished scientists and engineers. I asked them, "Does anyone here take seriously the Government's proposals?" There was a short, embarrassed silence, a peal of hearty laughter, and then we passed to serious subjects. Nobody seriously thinks that this is a decision taken on the merits of the case in the interests of the application of science to industry.
Therefore, the impression has inevitably got abroad that we are here faced with a political decision. I have no doubt that it was convenient. After all, the Minister himself—and I at that time thought that there was much to be said for his view—wanted a Ministry of Higher Education and Science. He did not get it, because of the overwhelming case made against him—and, incidentally, made against me—by those who saw the necessity for a really powerful Minister to get the educational problem solved. But, facing that, for him then to insist, a man who faces these educational problems, and insists "I will be Minister for Education and for Science" really does verge on delusion.
Or does he? The Minister is a very sane man, and I have been thinking carefully what rational explanation there was for this derisory and ridiculous decision. I think that I have found it, and I have found it in something he said in April, 1962. He then said:I have always determined that I was going to stick to two fundamental principles. In the first place, I was going to be a Minister for Science and not a Minister of Science, and secondly I was not going to have a Ministry. The reason for that is not that it is not desirable to have one, but that it is not possible.Those are strong words. Does he still think that it is impossible to have a Ministry of Science or Ministry of Technology? He probably does.
I think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman genuinely believes that it is both undesirable and impossible to organise civil research. This is the fatal defect which has marred his whole 53 régime in these seven years. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is obsessed by the fear that if he had a real Ministry at his disposal and had the strength to do anything positive, instead of sitting and lucubrating and making speeches, he might destroy the freedom of thought on which science depends.
I have been looking at the right hon. and learned Gentleman's immensely readable and very clear hook. It makes it crystal clear that it is a major theme of his life that as Minister he must be a patron of the sciences and never a master of the sciences. I agree that that kind of attitude is absolutely justifiable when one is dealing with universities and research institutes. I agree entirely that Ministers should lay down the broad strategy of defence and accept the Haldane principle and as far as possible leave the detailed planning of research to the scientists themselves to organise. I would add, by the way, that this should be under a properly constituted central science hoard—and this is one of the Trend recommendations which I accept —and under an entirely reconstituted U.G.C. I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman that in these spheres the Minister should be patron rather than master or decider.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing (Hendon, North)
How does this tie up with the statement made by the hon. Member himself on 15th July last, at column 48, when he said that a Minister of Science should control all recearch? That was in very different terms from what we are hearing now.
§ Mr. Crossman
I was there speaking of the Minister's rôle with regard to research councils and was pointing out a little further on, as the hon. Member will discover from the next paragraph, that we could not in future permit each research council on its own to plan without some co-ordination of the planning.
As I have just mentioned, a central science board would have to advise the Minister. Ultimately, he would have to make the decisions broadly, but on advice from the board. I agree with the Minister that as far as possible we should keep our political noses out of research but where I and I think others part company with the Minister, including the right hon. Member for Hall 54 Green and the F.B.I., is when he extends his obsession against State interference to the rôle of technology and applied science.
As a Conservative, the Minister admits one exception. In defence he is one of the first to claim that the State has the responsibility to create a huge apparatus of scientific research designed to create weapons of destruction and that scientists and technologists who work for defence must be prepared to sacrifice academic freedom. But in two characteristic passages in his book the right hon. and learned Gentleman warns us how corrupting to the scientific spirit military research can be. He makes it clear that even if Government-financed R and B must be tolerated in order to provide an independent British deterrent he is certainly not prepared to further actively, and on the same massive scale, state-financed R and D designed only to help peaceful production and help us expand our peaceful economy. There is the real difference between us and him, and between him and the scientists who work under him.
By his attitude over the last seven years the right hon. and learned Gentleman has demoralised thousands of scientists and technologists serving in our great Government research institutes, and he has even succeeded in infuriating those very academics whose freedom he is trying to defend. But though our scientists are in dejected mood, they are as good as any, and our engineers and technologists could be as good if they were given the chance, by the creation of a Ministry of Technology, with the power and the drive to provide on a massive scale to the computer industry and machine-tool industry, and in all the other areas where it is needed, the State-financed R and D for which even the F.B.I. is crying out.
But under this Government, and particularly under this Minister, action of this kind is out of the question. It is because for seven years, as Minister responsible for science, his whole attitude has been based on an obsolete and dangerous blindness to the new positive role that a modern State must now play in civil research, that we shall ask the Committee to reduce his salary.
§ 4.16 p.m.
§ The Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science (Mr. Quintin Hogg)
The hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) has obviously made an important speech. Despite his attack upon myself there were a number of points, to which I hope I will come in the course of my argument, with which I am wholly in agreement.
I do not think that the hon. Member has correctly stated the difference between us and I hope to define it more accurately as I go along. He has covered, and I do not complain of it, an enormous field, but I think that I can do best by concentrating on three main themes around which the hon. Member's speech very largely turned.
The first is the emigration of scientists, which I choose because it is particularly topical. The second is the size and rate of development of our total scientific effort. I choose that because it is obviously essential to the whole. The third is the question of the Government organisation of science, because I think that it is time that the House as a whole took notice of the Trend Report and other Reports which deal with this urgent subject. On all three I will ask for the support of the Committee.
The emigration of scientists, of course, is a most serious subject. I hope that it will be plain that on both sides we treat it extremely seriously, but I think that it is important to identify the right problem and to see the matter in its true perspective. Particularly because the hon. Member quoted a letter of mine, from which I do not in any way recede, it is well that I should begin by agreeing with him that it is as well to remember that science is in its nature international. It is the one systematic discipline of thought which cuts through the racial, political and religious differences of mankind. In the long run, this may be its most valuable contribution to human well-being. It follows from this, of course, that interchanges of personnel, permanent or temporary, are not to be discouraged.
Indeed, I go further and say that from a purely practical point of view the temporary interchange of personnel has become a necessity for the scientists of almost every country, if they are to acquire adequate experience in certain 56 fields. No doubt Chauvinism in science exists, but I think that it ought to be diminished. It is the mark of a sophisticated and developed country to export its talent and to import some from the rest of the world.
More especially is this true of a country like our own, which is the cultural centre of a Commonwealth and which, even apart from the Commonwealth, aspires to be, I hope not without reason, a source of light and civilisation to other nations.
The hon. Gentleman slightly underestimated the extent to which we are a net importer of talent, apart from the North American Continent. I say "the North American Continent" rather than "the United States" not because I grudge any exports to Canada, but because, statistically, it is almost impossible to divide the two countries of North America.
We should dwell on this for a moment. The 1961 Census returns, digested in a recent report of the A.C.S.P., gave us for the first time important information on our stock of qualified scientists and engineers. It appeared that no less than 8 per cent. of the scientists and engineers now working inside this country were born abroad. Of distinguished scientists, 10 per cent. of the Royal Society, which is limited to British subjects and those of the Irish Republic, were born abroad.
Very many names could be mentioned. The President of the Royal Society, the Astronomer Royal, the Chief Scientist to the Minister of Defence, were all born abroad. I could go on mentioning them. We noticed mention over the weekend of Professor Abdus Salam, of Imperial College, who was concerned in the discovery of the Omega particle.
§ Mr. Sydney Irving (Dartford)
Would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman admit that this has little relevance to our present problem, because most of these people came in a time of abnormal circumstances as political refugees before the war?
§ Mr. Hogg
I was unaware that any of the persons I have named was a political refugee—not the President of the Royal Society, nor Sir Solly Zuckerman, nor Professor Abdus Salam, nor the Astronomer Royal. I mentioned them particularly for that reason.
57 If it were not for the outward flow to the North American Continent, I think that we could afford to look at this subject with satisfaction. Unhappily, as the hon. Gentleman said, the net outflow to the United States is serious, persistent and more than we can afford.
Even there, I think it should be made plain that the flow is not all one way. Both the heads of the National Physical Laboratory and the National Chemical Laboratory and two of the heads of department of the National Physical Laboratory have come back from America. They would certainly have formed part of the statistics for permanent emigration, since most of them held professorships. During the past four years, to mention one firm alone, I.C.I. has recruited 112 highly-qualified scientists in the United States of America. Five Government agencies have recruited 114 in about the same time. S.T.C. Ltd. recruit al. the rate of about six to eight a year.
The activities of the interviewing board appointed jointly by the Atomic Energy Authority and the Civil Service Commission also need to be mentioned. The board is now interviewing for the Generating Board and some selected industrial firms as well as Government agencies.
The outflow is not confined to scientists, but extends to a great variety of top talent in business, the arts, the humanities, management, professions and entertainment. Even among scientists it is important to remember that the outflow is not confined to Britain. As my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal mentioned the other day, of scientists immigrating to the United States of America, 25 per cent. come from Canada, 25 per cent. from Western Europe, 15 per cent. from the United Kingdom, 15 per cent. from South America, and 8 per cent. from Asia. I have quoted American immigration figures.
I do not think that it is possible to build up from these figures any general indictment of Great Britain. On the contrary, the evidence is that America is a magnet drawing scientists and technologists from every developed country in the civilised world on this side of the Iron Curtain. I thought that the hon. Gentleman was not being entirely candid with the nation when he said on the 58 sound radio the other day that a Government could, if they wished, put a stop to what he called "the brain drain".
There are facts which we cannot alter. The United States has a gross national product about eight times ours, with a population not, I think, as much as three times ours. This means that it can provide a range of facilities far wider than any other country can emulate, particularly in nuclear physics. If certain American institutions choose to recruit selectively from the talent of other nations, as they most certainly do, they can offer facilities and salaries on a scale with which we cannot compete.
The average national income per head in the United States is about twice ours. The differentia is rendered greater in the critical income ranges when account is taken of direct taxation. This is not perhaps as great as it seems, because, as I reminded my correspondent in the letter to which the hon. Gentleman took such exception, social services in America are not the equal of ours, nor are facilities for training post-graduate students, or even for keeping undergraduates at the universities. None the less, the difference is a considerable one and it covers the whole professional class in this country, not merely scientists.
The right way to approach this problem is to see it in its perspective. Scientifically, we must calmly set about getting the scientific set-up we need, the educational set-up we need, and the social and economic policies that we need. If we do less than this, or even more than this, we should be doing wrong, even if our scientists stayed at home, which, in the circumstances I have described, they would not. If we do this, we shall be doing right, even if some of our scientists continue to emigrate, which they will. Indeed, we can be certain that the more and the better scientists we produce and the better our educational system becomes the more, in fact, they will be sought after.
We must be sure that not merely scientist but professional and executive classes generally should not be attacked, but should be treated at their proper worth. In particular, it was less than helpful to complain at the mild relaxations of the Surtax relief designed to reduce the differentia, which the "Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer" 59 described as "debauched, degenerate and degrading". It is less than helpful to complain when individuals in this country are remunerated at a rate comparable to transatlantic figures. It was less than helpful of the hon. Gentleman the other day to complain about a "meritocracy" being created when urgent steps are being taken to improve grammar schools and universities.
We have all heard these phrases. Speaking for myself, I agree with the comment which appeared in the Teacher, the official journal of the National Union of Teachers, that—It is high time the Leader of the Opposition came down off his fence over the question of the grammar schools. His unclarity is causing misgivings among the very group…scientists and technologists he wants to attract.There are a number of specific things which we can and ought to do. It was, perhaps, less than generous of the hon. Member not to point out that the appendix to the Report, which he read out, of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy had been brought about specifically because, immediately on the publication of the Royal Society's Report, I asked it to report specifically on such measures as we should take. Each one of these measures I personally accept, and they have been accepted by the Government.
The review of salaries is in progress under the National Incomes Commission. Increasing the number of senior posts will, to some extent, be taken care of by the Robbins expansion. However, a small but important contribution has been made by the creation of the eight Royal Society professorships, three of which were announced the other day and two of which have already been filled by returning immigrants from North America. Speed in increasing research grants has also been accepted.
The hon. Member also referred to the £200 a year awarded to each institution in respect of each research award which was announced last July and which, I should have thought, was received fairly well. He asked me whether that sum was enough. I can only say that it was the sum which the A.C.S.P. asked us to award. It was, therefore, a little hard of the hon. 60 Member to criticise us on the grounds of it being insufficient.
§ Mr. Hogg
I have been asked to answer these points and I think that I should do so.
I turn to the question of increasing the scale of technical assistance. This must be met from the general grant to the universities. An increase of £20 million over the next three years was announced recently. It contains a substantial element for improvement of existing standards.
On the question of awarding postdoctoral fellowships to be held on their return by outstanding men before they leave for research experience overseas, the total number of D.S.I.R. postdoctoral fellowships is being substantially increased this year—130 compared with 86 in 1963. Twenty of these have been allocated to the interviewing board for offer on the spot to suitable candidates. The value of these fellowships is from £900 to £1,200 a year, plus a grant to cover the cost of the return of fellows and their families from America. In addition, potential candidates are encouraged to apply for fellowships before they depart for North America and awards are set aside against their return.
That brings me to the second of my themes which is, I think, absolutely central to the whole issue, namely, the size and adequacy of our national effort in science and the speed of its expansion. It is worth emphasising—
§ Mr. Crossman
We are grateful to the Minister for going through this point by point. There is one further detailed point which I wish to ask about, namely, the special arrangements to get equipment for old buildings as well as new buildings, which is a prevailing complaint in a great many universities.
§ Mr. Hogg
I absolutely agree with the hon. Member. I was proposing to say something about that in the next part of my speech.
I turn to the magnitude of our national effort. It is worth emphasising that our national effort in science is by far the greatest in the free world outside the United States. I suspect that our national 61 effort in civil science is, proportionately to our gross national product, the greatest. What is quite certain is that we have been catching up very fast during the last 12 years. We inherited from our predecessors a situation in which about 1.7 per cent. of our then much smaller gross national product was being spent on research and development. The last firm figures that I have are for 1961–62 when the figure was 2.5 per cent. of the much larger gross national product. The American figure was 2.7—marginally higher, but a greater proportion there was spent on defence.
The Committee will have seen this week, in the New Scientist, figures for Soviet Russia which indicate that, viewed as a proportion of the gross national product, though not of dollars per head spent, our effort is greater than that of Soviet Russia. No other free nation even approaches this, but even within that proportion the great shift has taken place from defence to civil expenditure.
The hon. Member was less than accurate at the beginning of his speech when he said that I was responsible for anything other than the research councils seven years ago. I have been responsible for the Atomic Energy Authority since 1959 and for the universities and, in particular, for social sciences and the humanities for only a matter of weeks. In 1957, when I first became responsible for the research councils, the figures were 60/40 in favour of defence. The most recent figures I have are 40/60 in favour of civil expenditure. The hon. Gentleman was quite unfair about the magnitude of our industrial effort. Of the increase which I have been describing the greater part has been industrial, and this, again, disproves the claim that we are lagging in that respect.
I was glad that the hon. Member emphasised that there was need to build up the prestige, status and application of the applied scientist and the engineer. But we are moving very fast. In 1956, £185 million was spent on industrial research and development, of which the share of private industry was £68 million. The latest figures, published in the A.C.S.P. Report, are £367 million, of which the private share is now no less than £213 million. This shows a very big increase, the biggest in the private sphere. I think that in this connection 62 we should not forget the fiscal incentive provided by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget last year and previously, and the spectacular growth and export performance of the more technical and advanced industries.
However, for obvious reasons, I concentrate on the Government effort. We took over from our predecessors a situation in which we were spending from Government funds, on civil research as distinct from defence, about £30 million a year. We are now spending £172 million, an increase by a factor of over 5. Of this the expenditure by the research councils rose from £10 million to £49 million. The remainder is spent by the Executive Departments and the A.E.A.
I turn to what is to me the crucial question of the universities. I do not think—and I hope that it will not be thought that I do—that a Minister should have within his Department favourite children, but I must say that from the start of my responsibilities—that is, in this case, from 1957—I have regarded the question of universities as absolutely crucial, not only from the point of view of scientific policy, but from the point of view of social, political and economic policy and the life of our country generally.
I do not want to go into all my reasons today, but from the very start I have advocated a very rapid expansion of post-graduate work hand in hand with the rise in undergraduate places. I have every reason to believe that this has taken effect. I wish the Committee to know that one of the first things which I discussed with the Chairman of the U.G.C. was the need for post-graduate and research facilities. But here, too, I should be doing less than justice to my predecessors if I did not emphasise that the growth has been very rapid.
Since 1952, undergraduate places have risen by 50 per cent., but the recurrent grant has trebled. More important than that, the proportion of post-graduate work in the recurrent grants has doubled in these eleven years. Between 1947 and 1952—that is, the last five years for which hon. Members opposite were responsible—capital expenditure at universities financed by the Government amounted to £25 million over the 63 five-year period. During the period 1957–62 it was £92 million, or nearly four times as much. From 1962 to 1967, it was estimated at £218 million, more than twice as much again.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (west Lothian)
On the question of post-graduate studies, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, according to Julius Stratton, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as much money is spent on this predominantly post-graduate institution as on all British universities put together?
§ Mr. Hogg
I absolutely agree that we have to press forward in this field. That is exactly the theme of what I have to say.
Perhaps I may be allowed to point out again that recurrent expenditure has grown from £34 million in 1957–58 to £61 million in 1962–63, nearly doubling in six years. Next year it will be £82 million, and with the recently announced increases it will reach £100 million in 1966–67. Even with all that, it would be idle to pretend—and I do not want to pretend—that there is not a severe problem or that it will be solved overnight.
There are three intractable problems to be dealt with. The first is that the need for increase in post-graduate work coincides with an unprecedented rise in the need for an increase in undergraduate places. In practice, these requirements are not incompatible, but one makes the solution of the other more difficult. The acceptance by the Government of the Robbins targets clearly does not ease the situation. There is no very easy solution to this, but the solution clearly depends and this I impress upon hon. Members opposite—upon the continuance of a dual source of supply of Government funds to science both from the University Grants Committee and from research council funds.
Since the hon. Member for Coventry, East was investigating my past during the last seven years, during which I have been responsible for the research councils but not, the hon. Member will remember, for the University Grants Committee, I should like to tell him exactly what I have tried to do to cure this situation. In the first place, research council grants have risen from about £2½ million to about £10 million dur 64 ing that time, a factor of about four. Secondly, research council awards and studentships from the D.S.I.R. alone have risen by another factor of four, from about £500,000 to £2½ million. Awards this year will be up by another 25 per cent. to at least 2,500 awards.
§ Mr. Walter Monslow (Barrow-in-Furness)
Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that during the same period there was a change in prices and in the value of money?
§ Mr. Hogg
There has, of course, been a change in prices, but the figures which I have given far outweigh any possible change. Indeed, the last figure which I was giving was for the number of awards and not for money. I simply refuse to believe that it would have been possible through the research councils to be more generous without upsetting the constitutional position, to which the hon. Member for Coventry, East referred.
The second but related problem to which the hon. Member also alluded from the point of view of science in the universities lies in the financial administrative structure which is created by the constitutional position, which the universities and the Robbins Committee alike are determined, rightly, to maintain. The University Grants Committee does not earmark its grants. It gives global sums to the universities, and it must do so. It is for that reason that some scientists regard its activities with a certain measure of criticism.
Only the other day, a distinguished scientist said to me that he wished that all the money came from the research councils. He said that he wanted to keep it out of the hands of the professor of Greek.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
Is the Minister saying that the University Grants Committee has never earmarked grants, not even for technology?
§ Mr. Hogg
Broadly, the U.G.C. does not earmark grants.
I have tried to overcome this second difficulty in three ways. The first has been by the increase in the research council grants to which I have referred; the second is by the grant of £200 announced last summer; and, thirdly, by the recurrent grant of £20½ million announced a fortnight ago.
65 I come now to the point with which the hon. Member for Coventry, East has specifically asked me to deal. The third and related point to which I wish to refer is the renewal of equipment in existing buildings. As the hon. Member said, scientific equipment in new buildings is renewed as part of the capital grant and is among the best in the world. Renewals from existing buildings, however, whether old or new, although constantly necessary, come out of the recurrent grant and, therefore, have to run, so to speak, the gauntlet of the professors of Greek.
As more and more new buildings are put up, the problem becomes more, and not less, acute, partly because the disparity between old and new becomes more apparent and partly because the equipment of the new buildings as it comes in for renewal—and it is suprising how soon it becomes obsolescent— must be met from recurrent grant. I recognise this problem and I have called for an urgent study of the question as part of the review of the system of finance promised in the White Paper. The solution must be such as to safeguard academic freedom, but it must be such as to solve the problem of new funds.
I hope that I have said enough to establish two propositions on this front. I hope to have established that I am not only alive to the importance of this issue, but that I am trying to tackle it in a logical way. I hope to have established that all the main problems in this university sphere arise from, or are connected with, the separation of the Minister for Science and responsibility for the University Grants Committee. This separation has now disappeared, but, unhappily, it is this very point on which the hon. Member for Coventry, East concentrated his criticism of Government organisation. If he will forgive me, therefore, I will turn to the other and thorny topic which he has raised.
I am not dealing this afternoon with the reorganisation of Departments within the Government chain, but what seem to me to be the fundamental questions of organisation which we must solve and which must be decided before we enter into the highly controversial detail are the following. First, to what extent in 66 the Government organisation are we to give effect to the principle of diffusion and to what extent are we to try to concentrate on a central chain of organisations? The second question, which is closely associated with the first, is, with what other Activities in research, industry or other political departments does the central organisation require to be associated? It is here that I part company with the hon. Member for Coventry, East and I hope that he will forgive me for formulating our difference in terms totally different from those which he selected.
First, as to the principles of concenstration and diffusion. Last autumn, as hon. Members will know, I attended a meeting of the O.E.C.D. Science Ministers. There appeared two broad patterns on which nations managed their scientific affairs. Quite apart from differences based upon differences of constitution and science, there were those, of which France was a prototype, which sought to have a single scientific minister with a central budget; and there was the other type, of which the United states and West Germany were prototypes, which sought to have a diffused science budget--no single scientific budget, but with the scientific work carried out by what they called the Government agencies or what here would be the Departments. I do not believe that either of these two systems is wholly satisfactory. What is wanted is not a choice or a compromise between the two, but a full recognition of the separate role which each must play in a full and satisfactory organisation of civil science.
The clue I believe, in the recognition of the fact that in the phrase "scientific policy" there is essentially a double meaning. In one sense, "scientific policy" means science in policy or, if we are talking about business management, science in management. In that sense, scientific policy is a function of government or management. There is nothing else which has to be injected into the system. It is not enough to have a Minister of, for, by, with or from science. The necessity is to see science forming an active part of our national life at whatever level it is carried on. 67 It must enter into the executive Departments, it must enter into the N.E.D.C. and it must enter into industry.
From that point of view and on that level, the principle of diffusion adopted by the United States and West Germany seems to me to be incontrovertibly right. The other Departments must have their scientific advisers as otherwise they could not pick up the results of research. They must carry on their research as otherwise they could not apply it to their own problems, and, of course, they do so already on a very large scale and I hope that they will do so on an increasing scale as time goes on.
Of course, it is in this field—if I may anticipate something that I want to say in a moment—that the application of science to technology or, rather, that technology takes on a new and vitally important role. But none of this really supersedes the need for a central Government organisation for science to include a central group of laboratories, with a central group of funds for grant aid, administered under a Minister by a series of executive councils composed basically of scientists with suitable lay members.
In my judgment this principle is wholly necessary if we are to have a scientific policy in the second sense, that is, a policy for science and, in particular, if we are to retain a proper balance and coherence to our scientific effort, the avoidance of duplication between Departments, individual agencies and, above all, a due sense of importance to the weight of scientific opinion in Government affairs. It is this system which we have built up over the years, first in the office of the Lord President of the Council and then in the Office of the Minister for Science.
Whatever may be their differing views about the adequacy of scale in our efforts, I am absolutely certain that only this principle will carry the full weight of scientific opinion behind it.
There is only one other thing I want to say, and this directly to the hon. Member for Coventry, East, who criticised, not without a certain degree of humour, the arrangements at which we have arrived and which give effect to these views, and which I should like to 68 expand in very much greater detail than I have been able to do in the time.
The hon. Member referred to his speech of 15th July last year. It was on this occasion that he gave us his first Socialist plan for the organisation of science and higher education. I hope that he will forgive me if I call it the Coventry Climax Mark I. This, as one might expect, was at that time plumping for the principle of concentration, a sound Socialist principle. There was to be one Minister—a super Minister—a real Minister of Science, as the hon. Member put it, in charge of all research, and, apparently, of higher education and the arts as well, but not the schools, with a super board of planners at his disposal to fix the priorities for the research councils.
Since this violated the independence of the research councils, apparently this did not go down at all well, and the Coventry Climax Mark I was completely abandoned. On 19th November the hon. Gentleman's right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition came down with a radically inconsistent set of ideas. This time he plumped wholeheartedly for the principal of diffusion. The single "real" Minister disappeared altogether he became wholly unreal—and was supplanted by two Ministers—one Minister of Technology, apparently the Minister of Aviation writ large, and the Secretary of State for Education—schools and universities. But the defect of this second scheme was that it took no account at all of the need for a central organisation of Government science, the four research councils, the Atomic Energy Authority, the 15 D.S.I.R. stations, or the 53 R.A.s, the Agricultural Research Council or the Medical Research Council.
The result was that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition calmly proposed to deal with these by handing them out and dispersing the whole organisation to the series of executive Ministries and to leave a residue, whatever that might have meant, to the Royal Society itself. This was about the most disastrous suggestion that could have been made, and it has since been abandoned. I thought it was rather brash of the right hon. Gentleman to make such fun of our ideas. I can testify to the fact that it caused 69 the greatest dismay throughout the Government scientific service.
On 8th February, the hon. Member for Coventry, East unveiled his third model. This was inconsistent with the other two and was something of a Coventry Anti-Climax. Having threatened to break up what he described as "Hogg's ramshackle empire," the hon. Member then proceeded to advocate not one or two but three Ministers, all apparently in the Cabinet—the Secretary of State for Education, the Minister of Technology and a third Minister whom he designated grandly as for "research, arts and the humanities", who, presumably, keeps the research councils.
It is clear that all these three utterly inconsistent plans have in common is that they are all wrong. The first two have now been abandoned, and, in some ways, the third is the worst for it centralises where it ought to have diffused and it diffuses where it ought to have centralised. At the Cabinet level, where centralisation was important, I should have thought, there are three Ministers instead of one, each, so far as I can judge, voicing inconsistent points of view.
There is the Minister of Arts and Science, research, social sciences and humanities, living in an ivory tower remote from industry and teaching, but apparently responsible for the research councils. There is the Secretary of State for Education divorced, apparently, from research and industry, but concerned with the teaching and training of scientists. There is the Minister of Technology divorced from teaching and training but applying the results of research to industry without carrying out much research himself trying, I suppose, to borrow the telling phrase of the Leader of the Opposition at Scarborough this year, to harness Socialism to science and science to Socialism.
This extraordinary division of authority emerges from the fertile brain of a party never tired of demanding a national plan. But, secondly, at the periphery the hon. Gentleman's models centralise where they ought to have diffused. This is an attempt to diffuse science in policy by means of an individual Ministry—the Ministry of Technology—and this, I humbly submit to the Committee, reflects the most extraordinary confusion of thought.
70 There is, of course, a sense in which there is no such thing as technology; there are only technologies. There is, at least in my submission, no possibility whatever of fitting within a single executive Ministry the technologies of aviation, that is, aircraft and electronics, the technology of nuclear power, which is essentially one of electricity generation, the technologies of transport—road, rail and sea, the technology of building, civil engineering and construction, for which my right hon. Friend who is to reply to the debate can only be responsible.
The whole idea of a single Ministry seeking to centralise at this level is, I would submit a pure chimera. The truth is, and I would say this to the hon. Gentleman, that since last July the Opposition have lurched and fumbled their way from one irresponsible and extreme position to another, and that for one good and sufficient reason, that they have not thought seriously about this problem. They have never taken it seriously. They have regarded it simply as a quarry for votes, a sort of political football to be kicked across the political arena in election year.
§ Mr. Crossman
I would like to ask the right lion. and learned Gentleman one question. He has made good fun of our at tempt to allocate responsibility in the enormous field between three Cabinet Ministers. He said that we caused dismay among scientists by our proposals. Would he tell us of any scientists who have shown any enthusiasm for his centralising proposals? He has already had a protest, as I read aloud, of the scientists involved in Government. Can he tell us where any have said that they think he is right?
§ Mr. Hogg
So far as that is concerned, it is perfectly true that the Institution of Professional Civil Servants, from whom the hon. Member quoted extensively, does not wish to see, nor does the D.S.I.R. wish to see, a division into two parts of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. That is a perfectly legitimate point of view, but it would have stood absolutely four square behind me against the Leader of the Opposition in dispersing the whole of the central laboratories executive Departments.
71 I hope that we shall be debating this subject more often and in greater detail. I would only say at this stage in my speech that I personally viewed the division of D.S.I.R. with a good deal of hesitation, but I am quite certain that with the additional responsibilities which are being added to the whole complex it will go on from strength to strength within the central research organisation.
§ Mr. Crossman
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not answered my question. The question I asked was this. Whom has he found to give approval, either among academic scientists or among technologists, or in industry, who thinks that the Secretary of State for all education should also have complete responsibility for the application of science to industry? That is the place where we thought a division essential. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not given a single reason why anybody should think it is a good thing.
§ Mr. Hogg
So far as the relationship between the Secretary of State for Education and Science and the universities is concerned, I do not know of any serious scientific opinion, either in the universities or among scientists, which would have separated off responsibilities for teaching and responsibilities for research, or which would have divided the responsibility for the U.G.C. and the research councils.
I would go further and I would say that the immense body of scientific opinion in this country would recognise that it was wholly impossible to divide the single spectrum of research described by Sir Solly Zuckerman in the Report of 1961 as a single complex—pure science from applied science, science in the universities and in Government laboratories, and Government laboratories and industrial laboratories. This is a single complex which can only be viewed as a whole, and to divide it is to deny oneself the possibility of rational policy.
§ Mr. Crossman
The Minister still has not answered the question. The fact is that there is a very wide spectrum. We all know that. The difficulty is this. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says the spectrum is wide and cannot be divided. He essentially believes he will be the Secretary of State controlling all education and all research and all 72 applications of science to industry. I see that that is his view. What I asked him was whether any responsible person outside had given any approval to that view, either in industry or in the universities. He has not answered the question.
§ Mr. Hogg
—because the fact is, as hon. Gentlemen know, that in this particular field one has to take certain broad decisions, but, when one comes to the details, there are no two men, as far as I know—no two men in any party in the State or in any branch of science —who would, in fact, give exactly the same answer to this complex question. What I would say is that there are solid reasons for the broad decisions of policy which I have made, and that each of them has a broad line of scientific opinion behind it.
There is still time for the hon. Member to rethink his own dogma. There is nothing in the philosophy of his party which compels him to reject the considered opinions of successive reports of independent experts both from Government and non-Government sources. I have no doubt that advantage would accrue to the State if a balanced and objective view could be found, even in an election year, about this serious matter. I thought that I was entitled to make a certain amount of fun of the hon. Member. After all, he had done as much with me, and I thought that I was entitled to retaliate in kind.
The only thing that I would now say further to the hon. Member is that we are engaged upon an immensely worthwhile social experiment. We have committed 41 per cent. of our public resources year by year, even at the 4 per cent. growth rate, to various schemes of social betterment. We shall not find this easy, and it may very well be that other people going abroad will have during these years, whoever governs our country, an easier time, wider facilities, and even more leisure; but I have no doubt 73 which side of the Atlantic either the hon. Member or I would be, and I predict that the time will come when those who have gone abroad will envy those who stayed behind.
§ 5.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman accused my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) of being a Coventry Climax Mark I. I think he will agree that he has made an attempt to act as a forklift truck for the morale of the party opposite.
It is not entirely surprising that in that part of his speech in which he dealt with the serious criticism of my hon. Friend about the organisation of science and scientific policy of which he is now the head lie should have got himself into an emotional muddle for which he afterwards practically apologised to the Committee. It is not surprising because, of course, in spite of what he said about the application of science in Government Departments, no scientific study has been made of this problem within his own Department; and that is not surprising, either because his Department contains no scientists. So, while he has been making a party political attack on us and on the attempts we have been making to find a useful and intelligent division between the responsibilities of Ministers within these different spheres, during the same period the party opposite ha s in fact been conducting an exercise in extreme centralisation, a matter on which that party has always accused us. It is really quite incredible that now the Minister should attempt to fulfil all the functions he is supposed to fulfil, and that practically without a Department at all. It really is one of the most extraordinary things that have happened in our recent political history.
At the beginning of his speech the right hon. and learned Gentleman, referring to the loss of scientists, said that a more important cause than perhaps anything else was the general social and economic climate. There are many reasons why scientists leave this country, but I believe he was right when he said that this was one of the most serious causes. I intend to come back to that during my speech.
74 A lot of the scientists who have been leaving have been those in the field of medical research, and I think that it is in this field particularly that we have to look at the relations between the research council and the universities, though it does not only apply in this field. It certainly is not necessary, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman seems to think, to have the University Grants Committee and the research councils under a single Minister. In fact I would have thought, knowing his views about the necessity of independence of scientific thought and the need to have a variety of opportunities for support for science, that there was something to be said for having support for university science coming from two separate sources, one being from the University Grants Committee under one Minister, and the other from the research councils under another.
But I am convinced that what is very seriously needed is a study of the administration of universities. Especially with the growth of new universities, and the expansions, and the development of colleges of advanced technology into universities, the burden on the teaching staff and the professors is very great. University administration, not only in this country, is an unholy mess, and something which it is very difficult for the staff to understand. This is a subject to which some scientific research might well be devoted.
In medical research—I mentioned this in the last debate on the subject—I do not believe the relationship is right between the Medical Research Council, the universities and the medical schools. It is made worse by the attitude to research of many clinical professors, and it is particularly difficult for the non-clinical research departments. This also leads to the conclusion that much more support is needed for the infrastructure of research departments, particularly in medical schools.
But it is not about scientific research that I wish mainly to speak. I return to a subject about which I have often spoken before—the danger to our economy through not having sufficient engineers, the danger from the loss of engineers and the failure of the numbers of engineers and technologists to grow.
75 According to the figures given by the United States National Science Foundation, the number leaving this country in the year ending June, 1963, was 626. This brings us back to the rate of loss for 1958 and 1959. This figure has to be related to the number of those qualifying and this has now been static for the last four years. The figures are given by the Committee on Scientific Manpower. The estimated numbers for 1963 and 1964 were 9,800 and 9,910 respectively. These estimates must be compared with those made in 1961—given in the White Paper dealing with the long-term demand for scientific manpower—of 10,600 and 11,260 respectively. We are, in fact, falling back very seriously in our attempt to fulfil the estimates of the necessary supply of technologists made at that time.
In the universities and the colleges of advanced technology the number of applications for places in departments of technology and applied science is substantially less than the number of places available. But it is not only at this level that there is a lack. The numbers of those taking Higher National Certificates in technology have remained static at around 8,500 and as the numbers obtaining Ordinary National Certificates are declining, the inference is that the numbers obtaining Higher National Certificates will in future decline. These are very serious matters to which the Government must pay serious attention.
What are the causes of this situation? Reference has been made to, and much has recently been spoken and written about, the low status of engineering as a profession in this country. I do not intend to deal with that. I have written to the right hon. Gentleman giving him some of my views on the matter and it may be that this is a serious cause of the failure of boys of the highest quality to go in for engineering. But it is a fact that the same situation to some extent exists in the United States, where enrolments in engineering are down although industry's needs in the United States are very high. This emphasises the extraordinary danger for this country. We are not producing enough engineers, nor is America, and America's needs are high. I am afraid, therefore, that the rate of increase of emigration 76 from this country to the United States may very well grow.
The truth is that a large part of British industry is still not aware of the need to employ staff capable of creative innovation. It prefers people trained and educated by the more traditional methods and operating in the more traditional ways. This is something which the Government have a responsibility to try to change.
I have no doubt also that one of the reasons for the emigration of people of this type is the stop-go economic policies which the Government have pursued for so many years. These are responsible both for the failure of enrolments to rise and for the emigration of professional people. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman was right in what he said; it is not only scientists and engineers but also other types of professional people who emigrate.
At times of economic recession and at times when the Government have been running down the economy, such as in 1960 and 1961, the number of professionally qualified engineers coming on the market increases and the number of vacancies is reduced. A general climate of opinion is thus created which discourages the intelligent and ambitious boy from going into an industrial occupation.
But I believe also that this discouraging climate is assisted by the attitude towards science of the Minister himself. He has set—my hon. Friend, in opening, drew attention to his attitude—a pattern for his supporters in arguments which they think will bring them some political advantage. But they are arguments which, although they may use them politically, could be extremely dangerous for this country.
The suggestion that hon. Members opposite are now making that the Labour Party would in some way control the work of all scientists, and that this is a reason for scientists leaving the country, is not only absolutely untrue but extremely dangerous. There is not a shadow of support for such an argument. As I pointed out, if there is any centralisation going on, it is being done by the Conservative Party. Allied to this political propaganda is the discovery of a new scientific principle—the Haldane principle; the principle that all 77 scientific research in support of Government policy must be conducted in independent research establishments.
This implies that the scientist or engineer who is engaged in work in support of specific objects determined by his employer is in some ways second-class and is not doing first-class work. But these scientists and engineers are probably the majority in the country and, as a matter of fact, most scientists are quite happy to work on projects which are chosen for them. I am not referring to the Nobel Prizewinners and some of the absolutely top flight university scientists. I am referring to the vast majority of scientists and engineers.
These men are, of course, free to choose whether they shall work in a university or in an applied science laboratory or some research institution. A very large number choose the latter. The freedom that a scientist needs is the freedom to choose his employment and decide on his own research methods. Certainly when engaged on fundamental research, he wants freedom to publish, and many of those engaged in research in technology would like greater freedom than they have to publish. Also, if a man is engaged on some work not of his own choosing, he wants to be allowed to follow a line of inquiry which may occur accidentally or tangentially to the main line of his inquiry. I do not believe that any intelligent research director would not allow a research scientist to carry on with such a line of inquiry, at any rate long enough to determine whether it was worth while following it further or not.
The Labour Party has absolutely no intention of interfering with these freedoms. The arguments that the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends have been using are a complete red herring, but they encourage the view that the only real scientist is the one who lives in an ivory tower and that the industrial scientist or engineer is a sort of serf, only entitled to sit below the salt.
§ Mr. Hogg
The hon. Gentleman is making a most admirable speech, and I apologise for interrupting, but might I just put one point to him? I do not think he could find very much support in what I have said for what he has just imputed to me. What I think he 78 could find would be a criticism of the first of the three Labour plans on those lines, but that has now been abandoned.
§ Mr. Albu
I do not think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will find in any of the plans which the Labour Party has put out anything to suggest that we intended to control the freedom of the scientist in any of the meanings of "freedom" which I have been using. Nor do I think we have ever been unaware of the difference between fundamental work done in universities and the great majority of scientific work done in accordance with projects nearly always determined by somebody else.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
Since the hon. Gentleman suggests that one could not produce chapter and verse, may I draw his attention to a letter written by the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) to The Times on 8th October, in which said he believed in central direction of university research? This is exactly what we feel means centralised control of research.
§ Mr. Albu
I see that the hon. Member is holding the Conservative Party's new handbook, from which he is quoting. It only confirms my view that this is a political line which the party opposite intends to use. I have not the letter written by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East with me and I cannot remember the whole of it. But, knowing my hon. Friend as I do, I am convinced that he has no intention of wishing to control work done by people in research, either as individual scientists or in laboratories.
What my hon. Friend was certainly arguing was that, where there are great demands for research funds from the universities and other institutions, there must be some method of making a choice and in the (lid that choice must be made by a Minister—in other words, some degree of centralisation. Someone must decide between the amounts of money the Government are willing to give to different Departments and to different aspects of research. If that is control, that is exactly what we mean.
The Lord President of the Council was slightly ingenuous when he said that the University Grants Committee had never 79 given an earmarked grant. That is untrue. Its grants in recent years have included those for the expansion of technology, particularly at Imperial College. I am not against that—indeed I am in favour of it. But to say that, as a matter of principle, the Committee never interferes in any way with what the universities do is to belie the truth.
However, I want to return now to the Haldane principle. I believe that the views of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord President have already been demolished by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones). It is true that Lord Haldane—and it is a long time ago now and one would have thought that even the Conservative Party would have moved a little way forward since then in its views on science, industry and the economy—envisaged a central Government research and intelligence agency at a time when there was very little scientific research being done on Government policy. But nowhere in his report—and I have recently re-read it—is this laid down as any principle. Lord Haldane was concerned that no policy decisions should be taken without scientific consideration of the facts and of the consequences of the decisions.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman himself referred to this aspect of what we mean by scientific policy and to some extent I am with him. But not only the physical scientists are involved. The social scientists—economists, sociologists, psychologists and others—are also involved in helping to give the Government advice on scientific policy.
Despite the existence of research organisations independent of Government Departments, which we have had for some time, it is only during the last very few years that scientific methods are really being used within the Government Departments themselves. It is very difficult to measure how far this has gone. It is something that one can only judge when one is inside the Government service. But some measure of what has taken place can perhaps be guaged from the number of professionally qualified staff employed on research. I have recently tried to ascertain the figures and I admit that probably the 80 ways in which the answers were given are not exactly comparable.
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government has 150. The Ministry of Public Building and Works has 61 and in addition there is the Building Research Station. Rather surprisingly, the Board of Trade has 53. I suppose that a large number of these are statisticians, but recently that go-getting Minister, whose exact title I can never remember, has appointed a director of an economic research unit. It seems that either he or the Department is preparing the gound for the future. But, as far as I know, the Board of Trade —or whatever Department it now is—has no scientists or technologists on its staff.
One of the Departments generally considered the most reactionary is the Home Office but it has 22 researchers, who are, I know, doing a lot of useful work. Rather surprisingly again, the Ministry of Transport has only 15, including statisticians. Of course, there is also the Road Research Laboratory, but do not let us pretend that its influence has been as great as it should be on the administration of the Department in recent years or that its independence has been of great value to it. It is astonishing that the Department concerned with the planning of the nation's transport system should have only 15 scientists, including statisticians, on its staff.
The social service Departments are the weakest. The Ministry of Education has a research and intelligence branch but not a single professionally qualified member of its staff. I suspect, however, that there is a slight difference in the figures given by the Ministry of Education and the figures given by other Departments because, obviously, the Ministry's figures do not include its statistical department, which is very good. But statistics in itself is not research and the statistics themselves are not, unless they are interpreted scientifically, of much help in policy-making.
§ The Minister of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)
Would not the hon. Gentleman include the work of the architects and buildings branch of the Ministry which, since the days of the late David Nenk, has really made an 81 outstanding contribution to applied science, which is just what the hon. Gentleman is most concerned with?
§ Mr. Albu
I am very glad that it has not. But that is research on buildings—on the physical aspects of education, not on education itself. I agree that the right hon. Gentleman is expanding the amount of money that his Department gives for extra-mural research, but I accept the Lord President's view that every Government Department should have its own scientific staff in support of its policy. The Ministry of Health has none, if one excepts three members of its staff engaged on artificial limb research. The Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance also has none.
§ Mr. Albu
I have been reading articles about it lately and it appears that the Treasury is preparing its ground as well. It seems to have an increasing number of professionally qualified staff. It is interesting to see how Departments have been, as it were, organising their lines of defence. Whether this is due to ambitious Ministers or to Department preparing for changes in political attitudes in the future I do not know.
I am one of those who believe that it would be best to have most of the research organisations inside the executive Departments to strengthen the power of science and the chief scientists and engineers inside the Departments but, of course, in addition to these research centres in Government departments there must also be independent centres of scientific research into matters affecting Government policy, whether located in universities or other institutions. These, however, are not a substitute for the work carried out within a Department in aid of the administration and preparation of policies. As in industry, this is all applied research carried out for specific requirements and it is worthy of the best scientific and 82 technological skill, although it is work under control and for specific objectives.
It is to these matters that we believe that the Minister should be devoting his attention. The right hon. and learned Gentleman however, still displays the attitude of the Greeks—that the application of science to the daily problems of man is degrading. He may make speeches in favour of engineering and technology, but we do not accept that he really believes in them. It is because he has so signally failed to understand the real nature of the problems which face us that he is causing alarm and despondency among scientists and engineers. It is for this reason that we condemn him.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Sir Kenneth Pickthorn (Carlton)
I hope that I shall not be very long. I am a little pessimistic, because I have not prepared my speech in a way which enables me to foresee how long it will take. However, if I may cheer up the Committee, I have a sore throat and shall become dumb if I go on too long.
Before he very reasonably hurries out, I should like to refer to one or two things said by the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu). I thought that he was a little naive to object to party political controversy on a Motion which proposes to reduce the salary of a principal Cabinet Minister. If you do not want party political controversy, Mr. Royle—and I do not particularly want it on this subject—I should have thought that that was a procedure which you avoided, especially if you were to allow yourself to slip into the non sequitur of assuming that a quotation ceases to have any evidential value once it is used by your opponents. Such an assumption makes any argument other than party political controversy, other than a mere swapping of slogans, essentially and absolutely impossible. Nor does it really help to beg us to be up to date, a quality to which I have never aspired and which has led more people wrong than any other aspiration, and to say that either freedom or science—I did not know which—or both, or the relation of the two, ought to be redefined because Lord Haldane has been buried.
I had a similar remark which I wanted to make about the hon. Member for 83 Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman). I do not in the least complain of his not being here. I think that he misunderstood us and was a little naïve when he complained that hon. Members on this side of the House laughed at him for being internationalist and jeered at him for being chauvinist—or words to that effect. We are all of us to some extent and in some connections internationalist and all of us to some extent and in some connections chauvinist. What is wrong with the hon. Member for Coventry, East is that he is so over-brimming with qualities that they add up to far more than 100 per cent., and the reason for smiling sometimes is the ease with which he is 101 per cent. chauvinist at one moment and 101 per cent. internationalist at the next and about 99 per cent. both at the same moment.
I have ventured to speak this afternoon because—I was about to be vain enough to say that I had one great idea, but I suppose that that is more than anyone has had for about 2,000 years—I have had at any rate one large notion which has not yet been aired in this connection and which I should like to put into the atmosphere, and I have a few small suggestions for action to make.
We are all, except, perhaps, the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock), liberals, and the truth, on any general and internationalised definition of the word, is that everybody in this country, very nearly everybody, except a few like Mosley who were Socialists at one moment and Fascists at the next, and, I am bound to admit, Tory for a short while, too, has been liberal for some hundreds of years. One of the liberal assumptions which everybody has made—almost everybody—is that if freedom of discussion in one matter is forbidden that not only reduces the chances of arriving at truth in that matter but the element of liberty in the air the society breathes having been so far reduced, the chances of getting truth in every other matter as well are reduced. Most of us believe that, at any rate, the people of my age and, so far as I know, the young and the very young. I think that everyone in the country pretty well has believed that for many generations. 84 There are two things which the Russian adventure has demonstrated, there are two things more important even than the Russian strategic situation and the way the Russians have got to that height of strategic power, two new things which they have demonstrated to history. I will not bother with one, but the other is the contrary of this liberal assumption. We have seen a society in which liberty is reduced in almost all connections almost to nothing and in which even inside science—and the Soviet Government gives to scientists inside science much greater freedom than it gives to anybody else except, perhaps, to ballet girls so long as they stay on the tips of their toes—liberty has been reduced, but in which that has not prevented somebody from writing truthfully in The Times the other day in facetious meiosis that the Russians seem to have been not without success in some scientific fields.
It is true. This is important because the reason why none of us can be 100 per cent. internationalist, as the hon. Member for Coventry, East so often is, the reason why no reasonable man can be 100 per cent. internationalist in this matter is the enormous strategic implication—and, incidentally, this teaches us to be careful about scientists controlling policy, for Lord Rutherford was one of the last people to believe in any political or strategic implication in what he had done; that may be a slight exaggeration, but not much. In that matter we have learned that it is possible, with a minimum of liberty, for great achievements to be done and that the balance of political and strategic power can thus be altered enormously, terrifyingly and perhaps irreversibly. So we are bound to be interested in how many scientists go here and how many technologists go there and so on.
The second reason, less urgent but in the long run perhaps hardly less important, is that modern developments and industry require an element of scientific—I will not say leadership—instruction and guidance such as the world has never seen before. So we have to be commercially interested in this matter and about that I wish to say a few words.
Of course too many of our scientists are going to the United States. I have 85 indicated the reason why we can reasonably think the number too many without being accused of excessive chauvinism. I am not sure that if I had been my right hon. and learned Friend I should have composed exactly the same letter to his young friend on exactly that topic, but we may be sure that we are in for hopeless disaster in that way unless the great majority of young men, about 24, or 25 years of age, Ph.D. age, whether Ph.Ds. or dunces, still trail around them enough of the tastes and enough of the patriotism of their fathers for that to be a considerable motive.
I believe, about the much canvassed reasons why they go—is it because they want the money, or is it because they want better laboratories and so on—that in the main they go probably because they want more money and a better professional situation. Incidentally, I meant to begin by saying, but forgot, that the reason why the debates on this subject in the House of Commons are so good is that this is the only subject on which every hon. Member is confident that no other Member knows anything about it. It is not the least use our thinking that any Government in this country can promise that every scientist will get everything that that scientist wants. That way madness lies, and we might as well all know it straight away.
One reason why we regret too many of them going—and it has not been mentioned today—is that as a rule they are good scientists, not only in the sense that they are good with their bunsen burners and so on, but that they are in a general way above the average of Ph.Ds. I agree with the hon. Member for Edmonton that what we should want most urgently is an increase of technologists and what might be called the top technicians. The Ministry of Education used to try to draw a line enabling one to distinguish between a technician and a technologist, but I do not think that that distinction was ever of much practical use.
One of the drawbacks of Robbins—I do not know whether this has been said in the House, and I do not think that it is very popular to say it—is that it represents an enormous mortgaging of our resources. It makes it difficult to decide whether any other proposal which will cost considerable sums of 86 money is really "on". There are many elementary teachers who, whatever they say in public—and some of them do say in public—are dubious, hesitant, tremulous about Robbins because they wonder whether enough money will be left to provide for the elementary schools.
If we are to do all the things that we have led people to believe that we are proposing to do for Robbins, how are we going not only to teach the existing undergraduates and young graduates in the way that we have been doing for the last twenty years, but teach greater numbers of them and do more research? We regret that so many scientists have left for Chicago, but how many more will leave when Robbins is in full swing, when the additional scientists which we have been promised are in fact produced? The figure will be considerably higher than it is now.
One of the things that makes the present situation so regrettable is that the people who are leaving are those who train top technicians and young technologists in a way which, even if they return to this country, provides a great advantage to the countries where they have been. I do not think that we could stop them leaving, and I certainly would not, but that is one of the disadvantages to this country from the point of view of commercial rivalry, and, if one likes, from the point of view of weapons rivalry.
How can we ensure that fewer of these scientists leave this country? I should not use exactly my right hon. and learned Friend's arguments—I dare say they are better than mine—yet something not unlike his letter is necessary. Secondly, I wonder whether there is anything to be said for altering the salary scales. I think that the hon. Member for Coventry, East was just wrong in what he said about salary scales. He suggested that we should start at the bottom and then give good increments. My inclination—and I hope that if my right hon. and learned Friend has not exhausted his consideration of this subject he will discuss it with his advisers—is that a good deal can be done by starting them well at the bottom and then increasing the number of professorships near the top rather than by increasing increments in the middle. What a young man wants is enough to live on when he starts in 87 his profession, and I have always told my pupils the next thing they should want is to be sure that that are a success, and that if they are they will be in the sort of situation which they desire while they are still fairly young. I think that it is at that stage that the additional money should be provided.
About cyclotrons, computers, accelerators and all those things with which we played in our nursery days—am I right or wrong in the impression that I have about them? I am not sure that I am right, but I have the impression that these articles are not in such short supply as either the public or the scientists are apt to make out; that the position in Government establishments is very much better than people try to make out; that in universities there is very often a good deal of shouting for another computer or another accelerator, or something of that sort, although there are plenty of them perhaps not at the university but certainly within reasonable reach, and accessible at not unreasonable times. I believe that the position is not as bad as it was at one time and that we are allowing it to appear to the public worse than it is.
So far I have spoken about annual incomes and payments and suggested what I think would be an improvement. I hope that hon. Members will not regard what I am now going to say as old-fashioned. I wonder whether it is too late to do something about getting knowledge re-endowed? After all, there was a time, when none of our ancestors knew as much as most of us know, still there was some knowledge, and what learning there was, what teaching there was, what science there was, was provided by endowments which society as a whole passed on from one generation to another. It may be said that because of two wars, or what not, we were wise or compelled to alter that system. Whatever the reason, we have moved away from the world in which that was done, and we now have this dependence on the State.
I am told that because of the system of American taxation—and they not only have more rich men than we have—that is a great advantage; I have no hope of being one myself but I look forward to the day when we have many more rich men than at the moment—I 88 am told that it is made easier by the taxation for rich men, and even if they get together not so rich men to endow any particular scheme, any particular scheme may be the better, and in general it is certain that a variety of sources of endowment is better than just one however good. I know that at the moment the Chancellor of the Exchequer has plenty of other problems on his mind but I think that my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench should get him to consider whether it is possible to rearrange the taxation system in this country so that we can get more endowments. I believe that a variety of sources for the teaching of science or any other form of learning is better than any one source, however good.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Mr. James Boyden (Bishop Auckland)
I had not intended to start my speech in this way, but I thought that the Minister for Science tripped a bit daintily through the passages of history which deal with university expansion and the production of scientists.
I think that we were contemporaries at different universities. I should like to remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman of the position before and after the war. In 1938, total Exchequer grants plus local authority grants to all universities was £3 million. In 1946, at the beginning of the Labour Government's term of office, that grant was doubled, and in 1947 it was doubled again. These figures are very good for comparison with the sort of possible development of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke. But anything may be done with figures and I think that words from White Papers can give a better impression.
One of the difficulties which faced the Labour Government was to persuade the universities to expand and to produce scientists. I refer to the Barlow Report of May, 1946. The Government having asked the universities to expand, the Barlow Committee said:In the face of these figures, we consider that, if national recovery and our material progress are not to be dangerously hampered by lack of trained scientific ability, the output of scientists must be raised very much above the level of the present University proposals".On another page there is a reference to the fact that the universities of Oxford 89 and Cambridge found that they could not contemplate an expansion at all and that they were going to produce the same number of students as pre-war. The Barlow Committee stated:We hope that it will be possible for the Government to persuade the Universities that in future they will be able to rely upon adequate and continuing assistance from the Exchequer towards any project for which, in the Chancellor's words, good cause is shown".One of the major tasks of the Labour Government of those days was to encourage the universities to embark on the expansion upon which the party of the right hon. and learned Gentleman has been able to build.
Certainly up to 1951; certainly in my day as a member of a university staff and certainly in talks with my predecessor, the late Lord Dalton, I remember very well the atmosphere of expansion in universities which was induced by his policies, and the policies of my right hon. Friends in those days. As the Minister knows very well, following that, there was a period when the brakes were put on expansion—when there was "stop-go"—and some of the difficulties which we find today about the production of scientists and the expansion of the universities were caused by his colleagues in the Government.
I did not want to rake over the ashes of the past, but I do not think that there is any doubt that the Labour Government may be very proud of the achievements in the universities owing to their policy of grants. Let it be said that nobody can charge the late Lord Dalton with interfering with the academic freedom of the universities. But I wanted to be specific and to make some suggestions. I wish to refer to the "brain drain" in relation to physics. This is one of the subjects which the manpower committee has referred to, the need for more physics staff in our universities. The "brain drain," as such, is one of the subjects which caused the Robbins Committee "so much concern".
The main publicity about this was started by the Institute of Physics and the Physical Society when they produced their report listing, in their evidence to the Robbins Committee, 80 physicists who emigrated to the United States. This was followed by the Royal Society, which published still more striking evidence. The Institute of Physics described the 90 right hon. and learned Gentleman's comments on the deficiences of the United States' education system as "no more than a debating point". It went on, in chapter and verse, to demonstrate the particular need for physics lecturers and teachers in the British universities.
From an analysis done by Professor Merrison it was reported that about 18 per cent. of the Ph.D.s had gone abroad in the period 1955–60; 27 per cent. had gone to British universities, 22 per cent. to British industry and 26 per cent. to our Government service. The argument was that if are to maintain our position in physics in the years subsequent to the Report 40 per cent. of the Ph.D. output would have to go into the universities.
The Minister knows very well the comforting thoughts of the Robbins Committee about the "Layard Law", as I believe it is called, that the general expansion of the universities will produce enough teachers for the different faculties. But an emergency expansion of the sort the Institute of Physicists referred to of a 40 per cent. intake into the universities is a very different proposition. It would be the sort of crisis situation about which some of us have talked for a long time, and on which the Taylor Committee based strong recommendations which appeared subsequently in the Robbins Report as well. As the Institute of Physics puts it, there is need for about two and a half times the rate of recruitment of physics staff into the universities in the next few years.
My constructive suggestions for stopping the "brain drain" are pedestrian. For example, the post-graduate grants are still regarded much as a kind of scholarship for good conduct and ability. They are nothing like sufficient to enable a young man or woman, on the assumption that the man is married—or the woman for that matter—to compete in salary with their contemporaries.
Despite the constant nagging from this side of the House, the right hon. and learned Gentleman's Department still goes on with the idea that it is a scholarship, a bursary, or some kind of semi-charity. The average graduate who is less well qualified than the person who normally gets a post-graduate grant is able to earn £800 to £900 a year in this country and a great deal more in the United States.
91 The second thing which I find difficult to understand is the way in which the universities have deliberately held down the fees paid to post-graduate students who demonstrate and lecture. One of the recommendations of the Robbins Committee and one of the recommendations of the Taylor Committee was that far more use should be made of this type of very intelligent and well-qualified student in the lower levels of university work.
I have had a lot of correspondence—as has my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart)—from the Postgraduate Association and the National Union of Students about these rates of pay. They are quite derisory and have created an atmosphere among postgraduates that they are not receiving the proper rewards for their work or that proper regard is being paid to their research. This is one of the fundamental reasons why a good many postgraduate students, having completed their Ph.D., look to the United States.
At London University—certainly, at King's College—I understand that the rate has been doubled, but at 22s. an hour it is still less than the average local authority pays for lower standard work. The attitude of the right hon. and learned Gentleman is expressed in his reference to the first 12s. 6d. being deducted from travelling expenses. Unless we can revolutionise this attitude, and convince post-graduate students that their activities are a fundamental part of what goes on in the higher education world, this very serious brain drain will continue. The remedy would not be particularly expensive.
The second thing has been mentioned several times. Lecturers get much better salaries in the United States. The Royal Institute of Chemistry did a thorough survey on salaries and stated, quite neutrally, and without passion, thatAt all levels of income a man with no dependants is likely to be able to afford a higher standard of living than in this country. As his income increases so the potential net income in the United States over and above expenses, increases at a considerable rate.Of course, the point was made, which the right hon. and learned Gentleman made, that if these people have children to educate, or run into difficulties over health, there are substantial advantages of living in England.
92 It is nonsense for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say that we cannot approach all American salaries. The fact is that in the university world and the scientific world not only is there no attempt to reach American levels of salary, but the universities themselves are kept back. Surely the right hon. Gentleman remembers the ferment in the university world when salaries were referred to the N.I.C. He should cast his mind back to the dithering which went on over university salaries.
The Robbins Committee has come out with the idea that there should be an entirely new negotiating body for university salaries. My hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) was absolutely right. Whatever figures the right hon. and learned Gentleman produces the fact is that in the university world there is no confidence in the treatment of university staff from the point of view of salaries and recurrent and capital grants.
When referring to the fact that new grants contain an element of absolescence, he should put alongside that the Reports of the University Grants Committee for the years ending 1957 to 1961. Speaking from memory, the total obsolescence in buildings in the universities was something of the order of £70 million. The Institute of Physics said that half the university physics laboratories are under-equipped and in old cramped buildings. It says:The needs of the more cramped universities should be looked at as a matter of national policy".Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman looking at the old buildings as a matter of national policy?
Perhaps the Minister of Public Building and Works will take this up when he replies. If this is being looked at, the sums of money involved are certainly nothing like what is required in a relatively short time to deal with the arrears of obsolescence in physics laboratories. I should be particularly grateful if a specific answer could be given in relation to physics and if there could be some assurance that in the next three or four years physics laboratories in the older universities will be brought up to the standards of the new universities.
There are a few quite minor matters in relation to expense which the right 93 hon. and learned Gentleman does not seem to understand. There is the question of sabbatical leave. Almost every committee which has reported on the subject, from the Assheton Committee on Training in the Civil Service, in 1944, to the Barlow Committee, in 1946, have said that sabbatical leave was the best way of getting the international contacts we all think desirable without encouraging people to leave this country permanently. Yet sabbatical leave is still the exception rather than the rule.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman can find this by looking at the reports of the Association of University Teachers. He will find that Bristol University said that it had been able to have a very limited amount of sabbatical leave for one term. The kind of recommendation usually expected for universities is one year in seven. This is not expensive, but it is the lack of this sort of thing in sufficient quantity that makes people think of going to the United States permanently.
I do not know whether a prize could be offered for guessing where the following quotation comes from or whether many hon. Members would get the prize. We were chided the other day for our inability to spell, but this quotation has a familiar ring:Generally speaking, far too much of a professor's time is taken up in dealing with petty administrative questions and both the efficiency of departmental administration and the amenities of professional life could be greatly improved if scientists could be provided with the secretarial assistance and office machinery which the average businessman regards as essential.That is not from Robbins, but from the Barlow Report of 1946. [Interruption.] I could guess exactly the response which would come from hon. Members opposite. If allocation of blame is to be made on a strict chronological basis, hon. Members opposite can take two-thirds of the blame.
Another matter which, again, is a small one from the point of view of expense and to which my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) referred, is promotion opportunities. This need was referred to by Robbins, but there is also the level of senior lecturer and reader to be considered. The present position by which there is a ration of one in five is not 94 sufficient. I hope that the increase in current grants now available to universities will enable them to decide on the promotion of senior lecturer and reader, not by ration, but purely by merit.
Just as the Barlow and Robbins Reports made reference to secretarial assistance, so they both referred to technical assistance. The Robbins Report went to same length to say that it regarded the number of technical assistants in scientific laboratories in universities as so important that it recommended there should be earmarked grants. I was pleased that my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton referred to earmarked grants. In the Robbins Report there are four references to earmarked grants, one for schools of education and another for this subject, the need to have individual technicians and, equally important, to ensure that they have a careers structure in the universities. The recommendation of the Institute of Physics was one technician for one member of the staff, whereas the present position is about half of one.
Time and time again from the Government Front Bench we have had suggestions that the arguments that the staff-teacher ratio has deteriorated are not true. This document demonstrates quite forcibly that one of the things which needs attention in physics is the general deterioration in the staff-teacher ratio. It says there have been a 7 per cent. deterioration between 1955 and 1960 and it actually challenged the University Grants Committee about its attitude in May, 1960. The U.G.C. replied saying that the physics departments must put up very strong arguments in support of the maintenance of the present position during the period of further expansion. The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows that the Institute of Physics demonstrated that the ratio had deteriorated and since then it has worsened still more.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith (Holborn and St. Pancras, South)
I am following the hon. Member's argument closely. Does he know how the present ratio in physics compares with other countries such as Western Germany? I was given to understand that in this field, and certainly in other fields, the ratio of teachers to students was far superior here.
§ Mr. Boyden
We operate our universities in a different way. Tutorial classes and individual tuition are one of the features on which we pride ourselves. The position in physics is very much worse than in other scientific subjects except medicine largely because the teachers do a great deal of general degree teaching. This is one of the things to which I want to draw particular attention because if we are to make any attempt to maintain the standard of physics teaching and research this is one of the most important matters. I particularly chose physics as an example of the problems we see ahead.
It is surprising that the Government has thrown up the sponge in nuclear physics. For many years British university research and teaching has led the world. There is no reason now to be defeatist if the right hon. and learned Gentleman would accept a number of reforms which he appears to have put out of his mind. They are not expensive but, added together, they would make a considerable impact on the university science field and would go a very considerable distance to stop the brain drain which almost everyone except the right hon. and learned Gentleman seems to recognise as a serious matter.
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Denzil Freeth (Basingstoke)
As it is some months since I started once again to look at Richmond Terrace from outside, and this may possibly be the last scientific debate in this Parliament, I hope that the Committee will bear with me for a few minutes if I share with it one or two thoughts that I have about the two subjects which have been dominating our debate so far—the organisation of government and science, on the one hand, and the emigration of scientists, on the other.
My first reason for so burdening the Committee is that hon. Members, in future Parliaments, will have many occasions to discuss each of these two problems, both of which will probably exist for a number of Parliaments to come. As science develops, so the organisation of government and science must develop, and what is right at one time may well be not right some years later. Equally, the emigration of scientists from this country to America, 96 which is the heart of our problem, will undoubtedly go on.
I saw in the Economist of 15th February a report of the November issue of the Monthly Labour Review produced by the Bureau of Labour Statistics of the United States of America. This forecast that the supply of scientists and engineers for the next decade in America would be about 765,000 persons, but that the demand for scientists and engineers in the United States would be well over 1 million, and there would be particular shortages in the case of engineers.
I should like to say from the back benches what I said from the Front Bench about eight months ago, namely, that I am convinced that so long as a country so infinitely richer than ourselves mounts a research and development effort which it cannot man from the products of its own educational system, so long will it be able to attract to its shores scientists from our own. Why do scientists go to America? The Report of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy, to which reference has been made, lists four general headings why scientists go to America—salaries, opportunities, status, facilities.
On salaries, it is worth remembering that they differ greatly across America. American college and university salaries differ immensely between, say, one of the large institutions like M.I.T. and the smaller universities and colleges of the Middle West. In America, the large firm, the large research institute, and the large university will always be able to offer a salary which is infinitely more than a scientist would be able to get in this country under any Government.
One reason is that there each college or each university decides what it will pay out of the money that it has. When the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) interrupted my right hon. and learned Friend earlier to ask him whether he was aware of the fact that M.I.T. spends as much on capital improvements and enlargements as all the British universities, I could not help feeling that I should like to ask the hon. Member for West Lothian whether he approved of a system where individual universities and colleges could pay what they liked and where their finances came 97 not from the Government, in the main, but from private enterprise.
It is worth while pointing out that the salaries of professional persons in the United States are in general much higher than they are here, and that the standard of living which the successful scientist, doctor or lawyer enjoys in the United States is very much larger than it is here. As long as hon. Members opposite try to create a form of society in which the range of income between the very top and the very bottom is over-telescoped into too small a range, I think that we shall find that scientists will always find attractions overseas. My right hon. and learned Friend referred to the fact that in fulfilling one of the recommendations of the Advisory Council's Report, the Government had referred the salaries of university teachers to the National Incomes Commission. Perhaps my hon. Friend may be able to tell us when we can hope to have the result of its review.
Then there is the question of opportunities for promotion. The first thing that one has to say is that the larger universities must create larger opportunities: a large department will always have better opportunities for a better career structure than a small university. I was glad that the Robbins Report wants more of our universities to have more than 5,000 students. I remember being very impressed some years ago by a report of the German Research Association to the West German Government that in the opinion of that Association all universities should have no fewer than 10,000 students. That may be going a little too far too quickly, but I am not happy about the recommendation of the Robbins Report that we should build another half-dozen universities when we still have too many which, I think, are too small.
The second reason why the opportunities are not here may be put down to conservatism, with a small "c", in our universities, the tradition of one professor for each department. This is really and truly a hangover from the admiration which used to exist in some of our universities in the nineteenth century for everything German. I was immensely glad to see that the number of Royal Society professors has been increased to eight, as was announced 98 last Friday, and I was interested in the remarks of the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) about the proportion between the number of senior readerships and lectureships and the number of those in more junior posts.
I should like, if this is not being slightly naughty, to see a university put forward definite plans to the University Grants Committee and to the Treasury and to see their reactions to those proposals. I am certain that we must become far more flexible on the side of the University Grants Committee equally as in the universities themselves.
Also, when we are talking about the emigration of scientists and about opportunities and status, we must do more to bring the universities, the technical colleges—some of which will soon become universities—and industry more closely together. I was immensely pleased last summer to discover that five members of the staff of the National Engineering Laboratory had become honorary professors at what was then the Royal Glasgow College. I only wish that more members of Government laboratories became honorary professors of universities and that more scientists actively working in industry also became honorary professors of our leading higher education institutions.
The status of the scientist is partly a social one. It is difficult to know what the Government can do, but I know of one businessman who went to America because he said that in America a businessman was looked up to whereas in this country he was either regarded by the county as something nasty in the City, or by the Labour Party as being a bloodsucker. The scientist does not fall into quite that category. His status can be improved by a decent tax structure and I hope that the interest in more spending money for scientists will cause the party opposite to agree that the minimum Surtax level should certainly now be £5,000.
In America, the professional man is respected. He is expected, if he is successful, to be wealthy and his wealth is regarded as a sign of his success in his profession. I hope that hon. Members opposite will reverse their previous philosophy and accept that the contribution that these people make to the wealth of the nation entitles them to 99 keep more of the rewards of their success. Neither Socialism nor feudalism is conducive to progress. The Tory Party got rid of feudalism about one hundred years ago and I hope that hon. Members opposite will now get rid of Socialism.
Facilities in universities are often quoted as a reason for emigration. I believe that facilities in Government laboratories are, on the whole, very good, but this is not the case in many university laboratories. Between 1945 and 1955 both parties put all their emphasis on the building of schools, factories and houses. It is only since 1955 that there has been a general feeling that much more should be spent on capital works in the universities. The increase from £6.6 million when I first entered the House of Commons, in 1955, to £32.6 million in 1962–63, the last years of the pre-Robbins era, and to a figure, for the calendar year of 1964, of £48.5 million, shows that the Government are doing a great deal to catch up on the lag which still remains.
The strain of the increasing student population reduces, in a sense, the ability of scientists to undertake research. I do not know, however whether many hon. Members saw a letter in The Times the other day by Professor Monteath Robertson, a professor at the University of Glasgow, in which he stated that in the many American universities which he had visited the teaching load was very much greater and opportunities for research were very many fewer.
I believe it to be a fact that in the past there has been a gap between the research grants given by the research councils under the Lord President of the Council or the Minister for Science, on the one hand, and the money given to the universities by the University Grants Committee, on the other. To my mind, it is vital, if this gap is not to exist, that both forms of grant-giving should be under the same Ministry. I was pleased that this was recognised by the members of both the Robbins and Trend Committees. We are seeing the results of it when we heard today in my right hon. and learned Friend's statement that he was undertaking a review 100 of equipment allowances for older buildings.
I thought that that was commonly to be regarded as a matter of agreement between both sides of the House of Commons, but, unfortunately, after agreeing with us in July, the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) decided to disagree with us in November. The Leader of the Opposition decided to have a Minister of Education, on the one hand, and, on the other, a Minister of Technology who was to be in charge, presumably, of aviation, since, as my right hon. and learned Friend said, the new Ministry would be but the Ministry of Aviation writ large. To quote from the right hon. Gentleman's remarks,the Ministry should be responsible for all R. and D. and for D.S.I.R. functions and should have responsibility for N.R.D.C.It is noteworthy that, apparently, no more research and development than that is to be put into this mammoth new Ministry. What I do not like about it is that it would subordinate all civil research and development to defence research and development, and in the event of retrenchment—and all Governments occasionally have to go in for retrenchment—I have no doubt which would suffer the bigger cut and get the greater frustration.
More relevant, possibly, to a lot of our discussion are the proposals of the Leader of the Opposition for pure research. These he gave on 19th November, when he said:Then there is the problem of the Research Councils—M.R.C., Agriculture, Road Research and the rest."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November, 1963; Vol. 684, c. 829.]I hope that the hon. Member for Coventry, East will explain to his right hon. Friend that road research is not a research council. I hope that he will ask his right hon. Friend what he meant by the words "and the rest". There is the Nature Conservancy, but that is the only active research council, apart from M.R.C., Agriculture and D.S.I.R., with which the right hon. Gentleman had already dealt, of which I can think. It would be rather nice to know—
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
The hon. Member knows that there has been considerable discussion in university and 101 other circles about other possible research councils which should be established for the social sciences, for example, and even for education.
§ Mr. Freeth
Yes. Those, I presume, are "the rest," although they are not yet in existence. It would have been useful had the Leader of the Opposition given a little more clarity to his proposals.
The right hon. Gentleman's proposal does not show great knowledge about science or about the true needs of scientific research. He went on to propose that the functions of all the research councils should be transferred to the functional or executive Departments of State. Whatever might be said by the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu), that would have the effect of removing to a great degree the independence of pure science and of the pure scientist. Under the executive Department, pure research would always be at the mercy of applied research and long-term research would always be at the mercy of the political need to solve day-to-day problems. If an executive Department of State were under pressure from the Treasury to prune its Estimates, I am certain that applied research would be cut long after pure research had been pruned to the bone.
What hon. Members opposite want to do is to destroy the independence of the research councils, the concept of semi-independent research councils separated from the executive Departments.
§ Mr. Freeth
As my hon. Friend says, it is a question of wanting power for Socialism.
Last July, the hon. Member for Coventry, East called for a "real Minister of Science," with a whole-time Central Science Board to recommend how research money should be allocated, and a central plan to tell the universities in what subject they might do research. In November, the Leader of the Opposition wanted to give the D.S.I.R. to the Minister of Aviation and the research councils to the functional Ministries. This seems to me undoubtedly to prove that a Socialist 102 Government would be wanting to work towards what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has always said a Socialist Government wanted to work towards, namely, the harnessing of science to Socialism and of Socialism to science.
/ In government organisation no answer can be wholly right. I believe that the discussions over the months since Robbins was published have been very valuable. Just as Robbins and Trend proved to me conclusively the need to have research in the universities and research in the research councils under the same Minister, so the discussions of the last few months have proved that it is right to have school education and education at the universities and colleges of advanced technology under one Minister.
To combine all these under one Minister creates a very heavy task, but I am sure that this solution, which the Government have adopted, is the solution that has the least number of disadvantages, and that, at this moment of time, as a solution it is as nearly right as it can be. The only thing that can be said About the proposals of the Leader of the Opposition is that they are nearly wrong as they can be.
But what really worried me about the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was what he said on 6th February last when, the Government having announced their proposals, the right hon. Gentleman asked:Is the Prime Minister aware that it has taken nearly three and a half months for him to reach the conclusion that we put forward in detail on 19th November?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th February, 1964 Vol. 688, c. 1341.]If the right hon. Gentleman does not realise that the proposals are different, or does not think that there is no importance whatsoever in whether or no the research councils are disbanded and absorbed by the functional Ministries, it will be obvious to hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, and to our scientists and non-scientists alike, that the right hon. Gentleman's interest in, concern for and love of science are somewhat less than they would be if he did not think that science might be a way of getting Socialism across to the country, and the Socialist Party into power.
§ 6.34 p.m.
§ Mrs. Judith Hart (Lanark)
I have been most entertained by the speech of the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Denzil Freeth)—more entertained, if he will allow me to say so, than I used to be when he was confined by Departmental duties.
I shall have some comments to make in a moment or two on aspects of Trend, and organisation, and the proposals put forward from each side. First, however, I want to refer to the hon. Gentleman's remark about the honorary professor appointed from the National Engineering Laboratory, which is in my constituency, to Glasgow University.
The hon. Gentleman is quite right to welcome this advance in achieving a higher degree of free flow between the research establishments, industry and the universities themselves. I agree with the hon. Gentleman at least on the point—I fear that there will be little else in his speech with which I shall agree—that all we can do to encourage that movement will be well worth while. I know that at the National Engineering Laboratory they are happy about the degree of inter-relationship that is now being created between the universities and the laboratory.
There is no reason why the kind of principles followed here should not be followed elsewhere, so that university post-graduate students can have their research supervised by people in the research establishments. It is in the encouragement of this kind of thing that a Minister of Science, or a Minister for Science—whatever he may be—should take as many positive initiatives as he can.
Turning to the migration of scientists, it is now well over a year since some of us on this side had the opportunity of meeting a number of scientists, one or two of whom have since announced their decision to go abroad. We were very keenly aware in January a year ago that the degree of their discontent was mounting apace. Professor Bush was one of those whom we met, and there were others. It was very clear that unless initiatives were taken very quickly away they would go. I must add that I do not regard their decision to go to the United States of America as being admirable. I should have 104 thought that there were many advantages in remaining in this country which could counterweigh the advantages to be gained in America. To that extent, I would agree with some of what the Minister said on this point—
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
As the hon. Lady has had the opportunity of seeing, with a number of her colleagues, Professor Ian Bush, can she tell us exactly why he is going to the United States? It would be very helpful to many of us to know just why he is going.
§ Mrs. Hart
I do not want to take up the time of the Committee. I would advise the hon. Member to read the very full newspaper reports in which Professor Bush has said why he is going. He has talked of lack of administration, lack of space, lack of equipment.
One of the matters that emerged over and over again in our discussions—and I cannot say whether this was in particular relationship to Professor Bush, but it was certainly a general point—was the uncertainty arising, particularly in medical research in universities, from the fact that at that time, a year ago, consequent on the cuts in university expenditure imposed by this Government a couple of years ago, universities were finding themselves in difficulties in taking over medical research projects originally sponsored by the M.R.C., which had been going on on the basis of M.R.C. support for three or four years, and had reached the point when the M.R.C. felt that it should be taken over by the U.G.C.—
§ Sir Hugh Linstead (Putney)
Does the hon. Lady know of a single case in which, in those circumstances, the Medical Research Council brought its grant to an end? I can assure her that there is not a single case.
§ Mrs. Hart
I have not suggested it, and I only wish that the hon. Gentleman would listen to what people were saying. I said that there was uncertainty as a result of the fact that the universities were unwilling to take over projects. I did not say that the M.R.C. was unwilling to support and help them for three or four years, but that when that period was ending, those concerned must be certain the project would continue under M.R.C.—as, in most cases, it did—when the universities did not take 105 over, or that the universities themselves would take over the financing of the project.
The trouble was the degree of uncertainty. One cannot embark on a long-term project of research, retain the enthusiasm and confidence of university staffs, acquire the further equipment and resources one needs, on the basis of an uncertainty as to what is to happen to the project in three of four years' time. That is the point. I do not make any criticism of the M.R.C., on the one hand, or of the U.G.C., on the other; it is simply a fact that there was difficulty in knowing where the money was to come from—
§ Mrs. Hart
I made it clear that this was a general point arising from the discussions we had with the whole group engaged in medical research, not in particular reference to Professor Bush.
I agree that there is every reason in the world why one should not hesitate to say that a certain amount of interchange between here and America is necessary and desirable. It is true that science does not know national barriers, it is true that scientific ideas, wherever developed, benefit the whole world, and it is true that there are some fields in which it may well be necessary to go to a large country that has the resources for the very elaborate and expensive equipment that may be required—perhaps particularly in physics—that a small country cannot undertake on its own.
This is all true, and it is equally true that one must not seek to prevent some individuals from exercising a purely individual preference to go and work in other countries. Against the people who flow out from Britain to North America it is true that there are those who come to us, and that there are those who have come to us originally for two or three years and have decided to stay because they like to work here. There are four reasons, however, why it would be wrong if the Government, accepting these truths, went on to say that they were 106 absolved from their responsibility to retain as many scientists as they could.
The first reason is that although science is international and scientific ideas become eventually available to the whole world, there is an interim process between the discovery of something new in science and its availability to the rest of the world where in many cases industry makes a great deal of capital out of that discovery. If we do not manage to keep some at least of these scientists who now go abroad, what we are doing is to give American industry advantages which it can then use in the competitive industrial field against us.
This is what happened after the war, as everybody knows, in the case of some medical drugs where it was the Americans who were able to take industrial benefit from discoveries made in this country. This is not to be lightly regarded in so far as our position and power in the world depends upon our ability to exploit scientific ideas in industry and in so far as we cannot keep as many of these ideas within our own country when they have an industrial application.
Secondly, this is not to be lightly regarded to the extent that it is not so much the big people at the top but a larger number of younger Ph.D.s who go abroad and stay and to the extent that they go largely because of salary and promotion prospects. Both these questions can fairly easily find an answer through Government finance and encouragement to the universities which are losing people who will eventually occupy much higher positions and do immensely valuable work. I think that there is evidence that the Government on some occasions have not made available money when it ought to have been made available.
The Minister mentioned Professor Salam, of Imperial College. When I read yesterday about the discovery of the Omega minus particle in America I read, also, that some of the work had been carried out at Imperial College by Professor Salam and that part of the credit should go to the United States Air Force, which granted him £8,000 a year when the D.S.I.R. had refused to support his work. Is this so? If so, why? Is not this an example of the neglect of what 107 the Minister has often called promising ideas?
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said many times in another place, as the former Parliamentary Secretary, the hon. Member for Basingstoke has said in this House on his behalf, that there is no lack of money for promising ideas and that where there is no money it means that the ideas are not promising. Will the Minister therefore answer my question about Professor Salam? I will give way—but the right hon. and learned Gentleman evidently prefers not to answer. Was the idea not thought to be promising?
Proposals have been put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) and others of my hon. Friends who have spoken as to what ought to be done and could be done not to stop the emigration of scientists, but to make certain that those who go do so out of choice and not because of the compulsion that is presented to them by lack of support and facilities in this country. It should be possible for the Minister, within two or three months, to ask research councils to make an immediate review of the outstanding needs which are felt to exist in some of the projects that are already in being.
Are there other cases which we shall learn about in a few months of people who are turning over in their minds American offers because of some deficiency in their departments which could be remedied in a few months if the money were available and the need were known? Could the right hon. and learned Gentleman make a practical review of that kind? Even the process of carrying it out would create more confirence among scientists that the Government really cared.
Higher starting salaries for university staff are essential if we want to prevent the emigration of some of the younger Ph.D.s who are not so bound up with prospects of work in their field at this stage but who have to be concerned about contrasting opportunities, including financial opportunities and standards of living, elsewhere. The Government should not be complacent when they talk about salaries and the fact that they are now under consideration by the National 108 Incomes Commission. The Government should remember that the universities were very much upset a couple of years ago during the time of the pay-pause when it seemed that the pay and prospects of university staff were the last things in the world that the Government cared for. These memories linger on. They are partly responsible for the feeling that all is not well in science in this country.
It has been pointed out that the Robbins Committee recommended a ratio of one-to-one among technicians. It is not the salaries of professors, readers and lecturers alone that we should be concerned about, we should also be concerned about the pay of technicians. I do not know whether the House is aware of the level of salaries of medical technicians in the National Health Service and in the universities. I may be a little out of date in the figures, because I was looking it up in one of the journals of the Association of Scientific Workers, which was reporting on negotiations. I am quite open to correction, but I can only be a year out-of-date. The medical laboratory technician in the Health Service at the age of 23, having acquired his qualifications, can expect to earn £440 a year. In comparison, an assistant experimental officer in the Civil Service, at age 23, earns £620 a year. The laboratory technician, a highly-trained young man, knows that he is earning less than the national average wage, and his salary does not go up.
We shall not establish a technician ratio of one-to-one unless we substantially improve the salary. I hope that the Minister will pay some attention to this. He can influence to some extent the salaries in those departments over which he has direct control and he can make the kind of encouraging remarks on this point which he is very capable of making if he chooses. It is no good training the scientists if we cannot support them with the technical assistance that they need.
§ Dr. Jeremy Bray (Middlesbrough, West)
Is my hon. Friend aware that the Minister for Science has since approved some adjustments but the universities have had to pay them out of the previous fixed grant so that the effect of the increases has been to reduce the supply of technicians to the universities?
§ Mr. Hogg
The hon. Lady asked me a question, and I must apologise to her for not having an absolutely ready answer. She will appreciate that I have sometimes to ask for support from outside. I tried to find out, when she asked me, what had happened about Professor Salam's grant. I am informed that for many years the D.S.I.R. gave Professor Salam a grant to enable him to bring Americans to work for short periods in Imperial College. Last year, the D.S.I.R. asked him to seek the funds from Imperial College, since he was, in fact, using D.S.I.R. funds to provide for continuous stipends for visitors, instead of asking Imperial College to provide a steady post.
§ Mrs. Hart
I am very grateful for that information. One would hope, however, that D.S.I.R. is not too chauvinistic in its attitude towards the giving of grants, because, whereas there may be a clear case for on the whole preferring to refrain from giving D.S.I.R. money to Americans coming here, nevertheless in an instance like this, where a project based largely on international co-operation is involved, there may clearly be dangers of chauvinism if one is not very careful.
I turn to the question of the organisation of science. I have been trying to achieve some clarity out of the cloud of confusion which the Minister has left over some aspects of his plan. He has given us his picture of his super Ministry, which will do almost everything. Since he has this concept of linking education with science and all that the scientific activities of government are to be concerned with, I cannot see why he stops where he does. One could clearly go on and say that there are grounds for taking in other Ministries. For instance, why should not the Ministry of Power be linked? In the right hon. and learned Gentleman's view of centralisation as against diffusion, I cannot see why he draws the line quite where he does.
Assuming that even the Minister wants to draw a line somewhere, I ask 110 hon. Gentlemen to look at his super Ministry. The Minister did not make it quite clear, nor did the Prime Minister in his statement, to what extent the Trend proposal for setting up I.R.D.A. and splitting up D.S.I.R. is accepted by the Government. If it is accepted, would I.R.D.A. also go with his super Ministry? Would it be part of the responsibility of the Ministry of Science, or would it go somewhere else—for instance to the Board of Trade—or have not the Government made up their mind about I.R.D.A.?
§ Mr. Hogg
Again, I hope that I am doing right in replying to the hon. Lady. If she is asking questions which she wants my right hon. Friend to answer in winding up, perhaps she will indicate to me that I am doing wrong. That particular proposal his been accepted. Although I would not accept her description of the Ministry which I am to hold as a super Ministry, I would certainly regard the I.R.D.A. as part of its responsibilities.
§ Mrs. Hart
I am very grateful indeed to the Minister for that statement, because he is clarifying the picture considerably. He is now saying not only that he is to be responsible for higher and other forms of education, for the research councils, and all those aspects of pure research over which the Government have some degree of responsibility, because they finance them or for some other reason.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is saying that, whatever this Government propose to do in relation to bringing science into industry, that will also be done by him. I.R.D.A. is the only agency now through which the Government propose to bring science into industry. There is nothing at the Board of Trade which does this. Even the new enlarged Board of Trade does not do this. It takes account of regional industrial needs. It takes account of the financing of particular industrial developments in regions. It does nothing at all to bring science into industry, nor does any other Ministry. Now we hear that I.R.D.A. is also to come under the right hon. and learned Gentleman, with his existing educational and research council responsibilities. Now we can judge 111 the full extent of the Government's proposals to do anything at all about science and industry.
In my view, this is the basic problem concerning this country because, whatever we can do, whatever we are to become, will depend ultimately upon how we can translate scientific innovation and discovery into our industrial concerns. We have made our proposals on this. We have proposed that the Government should use their powers of purchasing to set new standards and that they should use their ability to encourage industrial advance by research and development contracts. When my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East have talked about a Ministry of Industry and Technology, they have been indicating that the function of encouraging science in industry cannot be properly exercised, unless there is, as one of the weapons or tools, a large body of scientific and technological expertise.
The question is: where does that expertise lie at the moment? Some of it lies in the Ministry of Aviation. Some of it lies at the D.S.I.R. The challenge to any Government who are serious about promoting our industrial recovery from the doldrums of the late 1950s and early 1960s is to harness their scientific and technological manpower resources and the expertise which already lies within the grasp of the Government to the jobs which need to be done. If it is thought that the Secretary of State for Education, with his responsibilities for the universities and research councils, is capable of even doing one-twentieth of what is needed, the Government are very wrong.
I wonder whether the Minister for Science or his right hon. Friend, when he winds up, can answer this specific question. Who now is responsible in the social sciences for the Heyworth Committee? The Minister will be aware that this Committee had a rather hybrid association with the then First Secretary of State, responsible for Southern Rhodesia and Central Africa and the Heyworth Committee. Presumably, this Committee would now be with him as Foreign Secretary, or has the Minister for Science taken over respon- 112 sibility for this Committee? Many people would like to know the answer.
What we propose is much more in accord with what some of the experts in the right hon. and learned Gentleman's own party have proposed in the past. The Minister will remember that two or three years ago the Conservative Party appointed a Committee to inquire into science in industry. Some hon. Members opposite were members of that committee. The Committee produced a very comprehensive report, which had many very constructive things to say. I remind the Minister of one of its main conclusions. Talking about civil industry, and the need to bring science into civil industry the Committee said this:…we recommend"—the Committee was very positive—that the Government's civil research and development effort should have a single decision-making point as is already the case on the defence side. This should be the function of the Minister for Science.The Government have rejected this principle. I therefore wonder how far the Minister carries not only outside opinion, but opinion in the House of Commons and in his own party, with him on this point. Even the experts in his own party do not appear to agree with him on the centralisation of functions. They appear to believe that a certain amount of diffusion, with responsibility for civil research in one Minister, would be desirable.
We also take the view that, since one must draw a line, it is right to draw the line between the responsibilities for education and the responsibilities for the research councils. We believe also that it is an entirely separate function to encourage industry to be science-minded and to encourage science to pursue policies of innovation and technological advance. Therefore, we recognise the diffusion of functions, which must be a necessary diffusion in any Government which is to look at the world in which we live and recognise the needs of the state of it at the moment. We cannot avoid a recognition of the diffusion to which I have referred in the way that the Minister tried to avoid it today.
It is because we are trying to base our thinking in these subjects on a recognition of the functions which the Government must perform that we differ so 113 radically from the Minister's concept as he put it forward today.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Airey Neave (Abingdon)
I do not want to say very much about the emigration of scientists, except that I think that the Committee would have been very much enlightened if the hon. Lady the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) could have said a bit more about the consultations between the Labour Party and Professor Ian Bush. We should have liked to have heard a bit more about that. These, apparently, took place 12 months ago, and they included some of Professor Bush's colleagues.
Whatever the real reason for their proposed departure for the United States, finance was not the cause of their decision. In so far as my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council is responsible to the Medical Research Council, he cannot be blamed for this decision. In view of the publicity which it has received, it ought to be made clear that the money devoted to Professor Bush's work has risen from £3,000 in 1958–59 to nearly £40,000 in 1963–64. Therefore, my right hon. Friend cannot be blamed for this decision which has been made the spearpoint of the Labour Party's attack. As my right hon. Friend pointed out—and it is worth underlining what he said—the Medical Research Council had agreed to maintain the unit until Professor Bush reached retiring age.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Would the hon. Member agree that the problem can be summed up in Professor Bush's statement to the Birmingham Post on 11th February, namely:I spend far too much time on administrative detail trying to get money for relatively mundane things such as new typewriters"?Is this true or not? If it is true, and if the hon. Member accepts what Professor Bush says, how is it that between them the Medical Research Council and the Minister cannot provide the "administrative detail"?
§ Mr. Neave
I do not know precisely Professor Bush's reasons, but I should have thought that, with an increase from £3,000 in 1958–59 to £40,000 in 1963–64, he might have been able to get new typewriters. I am not sure that the hon. 114 Member can put this forward as a serious reason for emigration.
The question of emigration is of grave concern to us. I wanted to mention this only because the hon. Lady and others of her colleagues were having consultations with Professor Bush 12 months ago.
§ Mr. Neave
The fact is that the hon. Lady and her colleague said at that time many things which are being said today about the sat-up at Birmingham University, but as far as I remember nobody complained at that time about the financial grants from the Medical Research Council to the university. Surely this is the point on which we should concentrate, because there are certainly gaps which should be filled. There are instances elsewhere of grants not being sufficient.
My right hon. Friend seemed to be in his best form this afternoon. He countered effectively the attack made on him by the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Grossman), who made some very important and interesting points. I think that they have been well answered, and I believe that my right hon. Friend got the better of the match. We have heard a lot about "squalor and poverty" in science in a country which in 1963–64 was spending £172 million on research and development.
Private industry, which has been attacked by some hon. Members opposite, is today spending £200 million on research and development. Much of what we have heard from hon. Members opposite is the language of exaggeration, but we do not want to be complacent. Clearly there must be a good deal of steppping up not only in Government grants but in the activities of private industry. The hon. Lady was right to refer to that, but she was unfair in saying that private industry had not enormously increased its research activities during the past few years. That is not to say that there is not a lot more to be done.
115 There are no easy solutions to the problems we are discussing, but I was interested to read recently the Oxford magazine in which Dr. Robinson, the senior research officer in physics at that university, said that one of the difficulties which scientists faced in a question like this was that there was a lack of informed public discussion on scientific policy. This is the feeling of a great many scientists. It seems to apply to hon. Members. Very few Members have attended the debate today, which is a pity. I should like to see some reorganisation of the House's procedure in this matter in the form of a Select Committee which could cover scientific policy and, since scientific policy involves expenditure, perhaps a new Select Committee on Research and Development to extend the present system. That is a disgression, but this might lead to a better informed House of Commons in all the matters to which reference has been made.
As Dr. Robinson said, in the speech which I have just mentioned, there is a good deal of bewilderment and sometimes cynicism about how, where or why decisions on scientific policy are taken. I do not find that many of them—and a great many are in my constituency—are very well disposed to the idea of a centralised science organisation. This appeals to very few of them. They want complete freedom for research.
We have been told today that what has been said in the past about a "real" Minister of Science with control over research, as the hon. Member for Coventry, East said in July, is not correct. The hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) said, "We do not mean to interfere with any freedoms". I only hope that he is right. There have been so many statements of what the Labour Party stand for concerning the organisation of science, that we on these benches, and indeed the whole Committee, can be forgiven for being confused about what it wants. Perhaps my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Denzil Freeth) put his finger on it when he referred to the introduction of Socialism into scientific organisation.
Dr. Robinson went on to complain about something which the hon. Member for Edmonton mentioned, which is very 116 true, namely, that there should be more contact between scientists and members of the Government machine; there should be more scientists in the administration at Government level. I made this point two or three times last year, and I hope that it will be noted. I believe that there is only one scientist in the Treasury. Hon. Members thought that there were now two. The last time I heard there was only one. The idea of having scientists at Government level in the Departments is an extremely good one.
In May, 1963, the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy put forward some constructive suggestions. Would it be possible for my right hon. Friend to ask the National Incomes Commission to get a move on with the question of university salaries, which is very important? Although that is an independent body, I hope it will be possible to indicate the priority which this matter must have.
Secondly, I know that the increase in the number of senior posts in the universities will follow from the expansion programme outlined in the Robbins Report. However, the earlier my right hon. Friend can make an announcement about the posts which may follow the better, because in my opinion there are a great many good men available for the jobs and it would add greatly to confidence if that were done. I congratulate my right hon. Friend and the Government generally on the proposed increase in the scale of technical assistance to university research, particularly the recurrent grants. This has been declared to be insufficient by the Opposition, but the fact is that it is a considerable increase proportionately over the next three years.
But it is not only a question of money and of the Opposition trying to outbid the Government by saying that they would spend more if they were in office. There are much bigger problems, some of which have been mentioned. By far the biggest and most important is the actual organisation of research and expenditure, particularly university research. I cannot understand exactly what the hon. Member for Coventry, East wants. Does he want complete central direction? We have been told by the hon. Member for Edmonton that we must not be afraid 117 of that and that it will not lead to interference with the freedom of research, but hon. Members opposite must get their Front Bench to clarify the position.
The Government are standing by the Haldane principle, giving reasonable freedom to judge projects on their merits. I do not think that this is possible with central direction of research, which very few scientists in this country would relish. A great many more scientists will go to the United States if the hon. Member's words are carried out literally. Then we should have Whitehall control of research, and I do not believe in that at all.
I am not a scientist, but I have met a great many scientists, and I believe that fundamental advances in science are not the result of a plan; they are the result of the creative ability of individuals with freedom to do that research. Any interference with their creative ability would be extremely bad and would be unlikely to produce new or better products. It is particularly true of research in industry where, in my opinion, there could not possibly be remote control from Whitehall.
The hon. Member for Coventry, East used a phrase about research in industry which I thought was most revealing. I hope that the Labour Party do not think that this is what they intend to do. He said that there would be "purposive physical intervention in industry". On reflection the hon. Member will feel that this is an awful phrase, but does he intend to do it? If he does, then we shall get into real trouble with our research workers in industry. It is no good glorifying research without some regard to the end product of that research. It is no good talking as though research were an end in itself. I am not complacent about research in industry; I think that there are many gaps. But does the hon. Member really mean "purposive physical intervention in industry"?
§ Mr. Crossman
I should like to repeat what I said during my speech today. The F.B.I. have said that in addition to all that is being done, another £50 million of Government-financed research 118 and development is required. We agree. If it is required, the Government must collaborate with private industry to do it, by various means which are available, such as development contracts or taking equities in the firms or some other arrangement between the Government-financed research and the industries into which the money is being channelled.
The hon. Member asked me a question and I will give him the answer. We need a Minister and a Ministry, as practically everybody outside the House also agrees, with the special job, first, of appraising the situation in industry and studying the situation and recommending where this injection of Government-financed research should be applied; and, secondly, of supervising it, because if we are to put large amounts of the taxpayers' money into private firms, there must be careful supervision and checking of it. In brief, we propose that in civil research we should apply the method which we have already worked out to some extent in our military research; the same method of collaboration between Government and firms which has been tested out, rather expensively, in our military research should now be applied with the sole purpose of increasing the efficiency of British industry.
§ Mr. Neave
The hon. Member has given a very long answer to which I paid very great attention, as I hope did the Committee. But "collaboration" and "supervision," which are the words which he used, surely do not add up to "purposive physical intervention in industry". We use the English language here and we must try to get the meaning for it. I supported the view of the F.B.I. last summer as did other hon. Members, from both sides of the House, that the Government should support industry in research and that more should be set aside from Government sources for it. But I never visualised that that should involve the sort of intervention in industry which the hon. Member's words of October appeared to mean. He now means "collaboration" or "supervision". I quite agree that Government money is to be spent, and that there must be supervision but why did he use those words in October?
§ Mr. Crossman
Because there might come a situation in which we wanted 119 an industry to do something which it would not do. Let us take the machine tool industry. Let us assume that, despite three reports from the F.B.I., no machine tool firm in this country was prepared to make on its own, or even with Government assistance, the kind of machine tool which we are importing extremely expensively from Switzerland and Germany. Let us assume that we thought it desirable to make it here. If we could not bring that about by collaboration or through taking equities, we should have to interfere, which might take the form of setting up a Government-owned factory and doing it ourselves. That is the final situation which I described on 8th October.
§ Mr. Neave
If that is what the hon. Member meant on 8th October, he did not make it clear. He has now had an opportunity to do so. The words which he has used on several occasions in regard to Government organisation have been very disturbing, and not only to scientists.
May I turn very shortly to the need to create a better climate and understanding between the Government and those engaged in research? I think that we all agree that this is very important. There are no slick, simple solutions. It is important that we should give the impression, and the Government in particular, of backing British "know-how" and British research on certain issues. I do not want to delve too closely into the disputes between the Chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board and the Atomic Energy Authority on the question of the advanced gas-cooled reactor. I think that my right hon. and learned Friend knows what I mean when I refer to the vast public investment in the advanced gas-cooled reactor. I am director of a firm in one of the nuclear consortia. It is important that scientists who work hard in this field should feel that we are backing British research.
§ Mr. Neave
I thank my hon. Friend for his short and constructive intervention.
What is to be the future of the research group of the Atomic Energy Authority if an American reactor is chosen? These things are worrying people a great deal. My constituents are closely involved, and 120 there is a huge public investment. It will also affect the consortia of big firms which have been involved in nuclear research.
Secondly, there is a need for this country to have a positive policy—I am speaking on the scientific side—in space research. I have mentioned this many times in the House, but we do not seem to have gone very far. I have asked the Postmaster-General about it. In view of the importance of this field of research and technology to British scientists, will my right hon. Friend find out what is happening here? There are suggestions of an American offer. I hope that that will not bind us in such a way that we do not have the expansion which we should have in space research, and particularly in space communications. Britain cannot pursue every potential line of research, though before the war industry employed only 400 qualified scientists. Today it employs 90,000.
The question, with which I conclude, is this: is this investment paying off? That is the real issue. I think it is, and particularly since the war has it done, because nowadays two-thirds of our exports are from science-based industries. In ten years, production has nearly been doubled in those industries. I think this investment is paying off in industry, but I do not believe it will work without sticking to the Haldane system and without following the current line of argument put forward by my right hon. and learned Friend. I do not believe that a Socialist policy can be right for industry or for Government research.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)
I agree with much of what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) said. He has performed a useful service in again drawing attention to the idea of a Select Committee on Scientific Policy. I know that he has been interested in this for a long time, and I hope he realises that he has my agreement and that of my hon. Friends on this subject. The absence of informed public discussion of scientific questions has been harmful to the development of science in this country and everything the hon. Gentleman said 121 on this subject, important and stimulating as it is, is absolutely true.
I want to go back to the question which has preoccupied many hon. Members, and that is the emigration of scientists. The hon. Member for Abingdon said that he did not know what the reasons for Professor Bush's emigration were. If he had listened to his hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Denzil Freeth), who gave a very lucid exposition of them earlier, he might have known. They have been set out in Professor Lord Todd's Report to the Minister of May last year, and particularly on the question of the facilities which were provided at universities.
Professor Todd's remarks were illuminating in the light of what has happened since. He says that a steady increase in funds has become available for research and there is now much less difficulty in getting large grants than there is for replacing smaller items which may cost anything from a few hundred pounds to £1,000, though—these latter may be crucial to the general conduct of research and may be urgently required at short notice. These smaller items cannot be made the subject of special grant application from a Research Council"—that is not universally true at the moment—and yet departmental budgets are, as a rule, quite inadequate to meet them. It is the constant difficulty over such matters that gives rise to much of the frustration expressed in academic scientific circles and action to lessen or remove it is urgently needed.It is rather interesting to compare that passage with the reasons which were given by Professor Bush for his decision to emigrate to the United States some nine months later. He explained this fairly fully at a Press conference which was reported in The Times. He makes no complaint at all about the scale of the support and of the grants which he received from the Medical Research Council. I think this seems to have been generally misunderstood on the other side of the Committee. In fact, he compliments the Medical Research Council and says that he has never had any requests which he made to the Council refused. He says, as reported in The Times on 11th February: 122The reason I am going is that the other side of my work financed by the University Grants Committee is very seriously hampered by financial difficulties.He was not concerned with M.R.C. grants, and he was not concerned with his salary. He even said later at the same Press conference that what really exasperated him was that he could fairly easily obtain money for fairly expensive equipment like electron microscopes but that the university budget did not reach to the cost of the electric wiring necessary to make such a piece of equipment usable, or to soundproofing of the room in which that delicate instrument was to be installed. Apart from this, he complained about the "hopelessly inadequate" provision of secretarial people so that he had to type his own letters. It is quite unbelievable that we should tolerate the fantastic waste which is involved in this expenditure of a highly qualified man's time.
I should like to see a review of the Research Council grants to the budgets of university departments with this practicular factor in mind, so that supporting contributions to cover secretarial assistance could be provided whenever necessary. I am not sure whether this is the kind of thing which is supposed to be covered by the additional £200 which the Minister announced in July last year in respect of each post-graduate student. The 1961 census reveals a total of fewer than 10,000 post-graduate students in science and technology, so the total of the provision under this heading is less than £2 million compared with the minimum sum of £20 million which Professor Bush said was necessary, and compared also with the £60 million to £70 million which he said would revolutionise the situation. Perhaps the Minister will correct me if I am wrong, but I think the recommendation of Professor Todd's Committee was that this additional sum should be provided in respect of post-doctorate students as well as for students reading for Ph.D.
I should like to suggest that instead of having this standard grant of £200 for every post-graduate student we should perhaps in some cases apply the American system of a percentage of overheads added on to the existing grant, because whereas this may prove to be 123 perfectly adequate in some cases it certainly is not going to be where secretarial assistance, or the wiring or sound-proofing of a room, is a substantial proportion of the original grant. So I think that this idea of a percentage overhead added on to M.R.C. or a R.C. grant for example, is one which is well worth considering.
Since the national Press thought up the phrase "brain drain" there has been a good deal of attention focussed on this problem, but the Minister had had plenty of warnings from authoritative bodies going right back to the 1957 Report of the Advisory Committee on Scientific Policy and the more recent Report of the Royal Society last February, and the paper by the Institute of Physics and the Physical Society's report to which reference was made earlier. That last report makes the sort of points Professor Bush made, including particularly the difficulty of obtaining small amounts of money for currently needed apparatus and materials. It says that over half the current expenditure had to be begged from sources outside the universities by the departmental heads involving, as it put it,serious waste of time of senior staff in securing financial support for research rather than in stimulating its prosecution.I recognise that there will always be cases of scientists who emigrate to America because some particularly expensive piece of equipment is available there and only there. Dr. Greenlees, also of Birmingham University, who is going to take up a professorship at Minnesota University, said that his reason for going was the availability there of the most modern electrostatic generator of its kind in the world, while there seemed to be no immediate prospect of obtaining funds for a comparable piece of equipment in Britain.
Perhaps there may be other and more immediate needs to be met, and I think that it is clearly impossible for us to compete with the United States in every single area of scientific endeavour, considering that their national income is so very much larger than ours, and if the primary motive for emigration at this time is of that kind I do not think that anything the Minister or the Government 124 can do could prevent it, because if Dr. Greenlees had been provided with an electrostatic generator somebody else would have had to go short of money. So one would have to accept that we should spend a very much higher proportion of our national income on scientific research to reach the same absolute level they have in the United States in providing comparable facilities, and unlike the hon. Member for Abingdon, I do not think we can ever hope to compete with the United States in fields such as nuclear physics and space exploration.
I think it is better for us to deploy our limited scientific forces in fields where we can provide the very best equipped laboratories and experimental apparatus in the world. But this means that we have to accept that some scientists working in disciplines in which the United States is pre-eminent will have to go there if they are to realise their full capabilities.
I make a fundamental distinction between emigration for this reason and emigration caused by the kind of petty frustration to which Dr. Bush and his colleagues were subjected. But the statistics treat both kinds of emigration alike. I suggest that the first essential if we are to get the problem in perspective is for the relative importance of the motives for emigration to be ascertained. Instead of asking for an ad hoc report from the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy, the Minister ought to set up permanent machinery for the collection of these data for transmission to his office at regular intervals. It goes without saying that the information should also be made available to the Scientific Manpower Committee and should be published in its annual report, and that it should cover all qualified manpower, using the definition in the same sense as it is used by the Committee on Scientific and Technological Manpower, and not covering just the Ph.D.s alone.
The Report of the Scientific and Technological Manpower Committee published in October last year says that emigration has been taken into account in estimating the loss of qualified manpower up to 1965. I should be interested to know how this calculation was carried out. As far as I can see, the only information available on the subject is the 1961 census and the rather out-of-date 125 study by the Royal Society last year. I do not mean to be at all disparaging about the report of the Royal Society, but it is more than a year old. Also, it is not necessarily true that the experience of the 1950s in emigration is a very good indication of what may happen over the three years to 1965, the period covered by the Report of the Committee on Scientific and Technological Manpower. If there is a continuous increase in the rate of emigration, which there certainly has been, among Ph.D.s, and it has gone unnoticed by the Committee on Scientific and Technological Manpower, then the shortages in certain highly important disciplines may reach crisis proportions.
§ Mr. Hogg
Of course the figures for both emigration and immigration are not precise and cannot be made precise unless we adopt a slightly less liberal policy at airports and seaports than we do. But the information on which the Committee was working, which is also my information, is that after 1957, when the figures reached a peak, viewed as a function both of the stock of engineers and scientists and of the yearly output, the level of emigration has remained fairly constant although the gross numbers have increased and have reached a high peak this year.
§ Mr. Lubbock
To follow one of the points of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I do not think it necessarily means adopting a less liberal policy if we are to obtain the fullest possible information on the subject. The Royal Society did not have any difficulty in obtaining—
§ Mr. Hogg
The hon. Gentleman misunderstands me. The Royal Society followed the practice of asking questions of universities which had been able to follow the movements of their Ph.Ds. If one wanted to get an accurate statistical survey of emigration and immigration, one would have to compel both emigrants and immigrants to fill up elaborate forms. At the moment legal power for this does not exist. It is obviously a question of controversy whether it should. It is not really a matter for my Department. What I meant by "a less liberal policy" was that we should have to make that inquiry, and make it compulsory.
§ Mr. Lubbock
I will not go into detail about how the information should be collected, but I would make one suggestion for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to consider—that in the case of engineers he might ask the engineering institutions to co-operate with him. Naturally, if a member of the Institution of Mechnical Engineers goes to the United States he will write to the secretary and notify his change of address. Therefore, this information might be collected comparatively simply. But this is a detail. It is very important to know the exact figures, but exactly how the Minister does it is up to him.
I have spoken about engineers. I should like to emphasise that, while it is right for us to be concerned about the loss of many brilliant scientists such as Professor Bush, Dr. Greenlees, and so on, there is a danger that while we are talking about this subject we are ignoring the equally serious technological gap of the middle 'sixties. The prolonged public discussion about the so-called "brain drain", by focussing public attention on the glamorous opportunities which are said to be open to pure scientists overseas, even if not in Britain, may lead to even worse shortages than we are facing at the moment.
There is already a bias in favour of the basic sciences in the sixth forms of the grammar schools. Professor Peterson, of Oxford, showed in 1961 that the average ability of those who take up engineering as a degree course is lower than that of boys and girls who take up a basic science degree. Previous estimates of the numbers qualifying in technology every year have had to be revised downwards very substantially. Over the five years covered by the last Report of the Committee on Scientific and Technological Manpower there has been no significant rise whatsover in the number of those qualifying annually, whereas in 1961, the last time the Committee reported, it was expected that there would be a 20 per cent. expansion over the same period. This short-fall in the output of technological students will have an immediately harmful effect on our economy. As one authority has put it, science earns no dividends until it has passed through the mills of technology.
One is entitled to ask what happens to the estimates which are produced 127 regularly by the Committee on Scientific and Technological Manpower. No one is giving the universities any guidance on how they are to cope with the situation. For example, at Edinburgh University, I was told, last year there were 600 applications for 60 places in the biological school, whereas there were vacant places in the technological faculties. Is the university to go ahead with a vast expansion of the biological school to meet the Robbins target or should it put up large engineering laboratories which will remain substantially empty?
§ Mr. Dalyell
As I have a certain local interest in Edinburgh University, might I ask the hon. Gentleman what he means by "the biological school"? Does that include zoology, biochemistry and so on?
§ Mr. Lubbock
I believe it includes biochemistry. I cannot say definitely whether it includes zoology as well.
The Robbins Report is quite definite in recommending that the expansion in technology should be very much greater than the expansion in the pure sciences. Yet the bias of boys entering universities is entirely the other way. I think that to some extent the relative unattractiveness of engineering may be due to the low status which it has enjoyed so far as an academic discipline, and by upgrading the colleges of advanced technology to the status of technological universities and the designation of a few institutions as S.I.S.T.E.Rs. we may do something to redress that balance in the long term. Lord Todd's remark about the scientists' feeling of belonging to a social order which undervalues them relative to others in the community applies with even greater force, I think, to engineers.
I do not pretend that I know the answer to what is, as the hon. Member for Abingdon said, a very difficult problem, but I think it merits separate consideration, and I would suggest how this could best be done. My proposal—I should like a reply to this if possible—is that there should be two entirely distinct committees, one on scientific manpower and one on technological manpower, and that the technological committee should include representatives of the engineering institutions, the engin- 128 eers' guild, the colleges of advanced technology, the technological faculties of the universities, and industry itself. I give this in a certain amount of detail because these are people who are almost entirely unrepresented on the present Committee on Scientific and Technological Manpower. It has only one representative from industry, and, as far as I am aware, there is not a single person from the colleges of advanced technology.
I also suggest that in the annual White Paper on Scientific Policy which is envisaged by the Trend Committee—I hope I am right in believing that this part of the recommendations has been accepted—the position of qualified manpower should be dealt with as a separate subject and any recommendations made by the two manpower committees fully discussed.
One very significant thing has not been said so far in this debate. This is that neither the Institution of Professional Civil Servants nor the Association of Scientific Workers was invited to give oral evidence to the Committee. I am advised that the written evidence they submitted was unsolicited. This is unfortunate, bearing in mind that although the Committee was composed of very distinguished men none of them had any recent practical experience of the problems of working scientists. As a result, it seems to me that some of the recommendations were reached mainly on grounds of administrative tidiness.
The opposition to these recommendations among scientists themselves has been very nearly unanimous. The main criticism of those with whom I have talked concerns the fragmentation of the D.S.I.R., a proposal which the Trend Report made not the slightest effort to justify. It was pointed out in paragraph 65 that there is a close inter-relation between fundamental scientific research and technological development. I should have thought this to be an argument in favour of keeping the D.S.I.R. as one unit, but the Report added that it would be too heavy a charge.
In what sense can that possibly be true? Certainly not in the obvious financial sense, bearing in mind that the Ministry of Aviation spends far more on research and development than does 129 the D.S.I R. Can it mean that the functions of supporting research in the universities, the research associations and its own research establishments are so difficult to administer together that the existing system has broken down in some way or other. If so, it is strange that until the Trend Report appeared there was no public criticism of these arrangements.
In practice, I do not think that these difficulties have arisen or are likely to arise in future. The support of research in the universities certainly needs a different approach from that of research associations, but I think that only means that the advice has to be sought from different quarters, and that is already happening. The function of the D.S.I.R.'s permanent staff is limited to that of servicing the advice sought from outside, and precisely the same machinery would be required if separate responsibilities were assigned to the new Scientific Research Council and the R.I.D.A. but, I am afraid, the division would mean a larger staff at headquarters.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) had covered an enormous field. He gave this as a reason for not getting down to detail of scientific organisation and went flying off instead into one of those rarified politico-philosophical discussions at which he is so adept and where he really feels at home. His speech showed most dangerous complacency about the vital problem of emigration and he repeated his trick of last February of naming a few eminent scientists who have come here from abroad. This time, however, he was careful not to make the same mistake of including the many scientists who came to this country from Germany and Austria for political reasons before the war.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said not a word about the warnings given by Sir Solly Zuckerman and others about shortages of technical manpower in the mid-1960s which, from the point of view of economic expansion, is the most critical of all that we have to face. It is for these reasons that I will recommend my right hon. and hon. Friends to go into the Lobby against the Government tonight.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing (Hendon, North)
This debate was to be on the theme of the "brain drain" and was triggered off, we understand from the Press, by the fact that Professor Bush is to leave this country. However, it seems to have developed into an attack on my right hon. and learned Friend and the Government's scientific policy. I was hoping that, during the speech of the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), we should hear a clear and succinct explanation of Labour. Party policy for science.
Like my right hon. and hon. Friends, I have thumbed my way through various quotations made since last July—contradiction, contradiction and further contradiction and revision—and today we have not learned very much more from the hon. Member for. Coventry, East, except to know that science is to be harnessed to Socialism. This is the message which goes out from this debate and I think that it was originally made by the Leader of the Opposition.
In an intervention during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) the hon. Member for Coventry, East, made a further explanation that, if extra money—which the F.B.I. has reckoned to be £50 million was to be needed for industrial research, then it was not unreasonable that a Labour Government should control that research by taking shares in the companies concerned and, I understand, by the setting up of Government factories. I wonder whether, when this becomes known, this will commend itself to the electorate and to scientists working in industry.
I understand that the party opposite would appoint three Ministers, and presumably one of them will have to assess which projects are to be backed. But I remind right hon. and hon. Members opposite that Government scientists are far from absolute and exact in the advice they give to the Government, whichever party may be in power.
I remember that a decade ago we were told, on the very best advice from the most far-seeing scientists, that this country would need the equivalent of 306 million tons of coal. We were told that not more than 200 million tons of coal would come from the mines and 131 that it would not be possible to get more than 100 million tons from oil, so that the balance of 6 million tons must inevitably come from atomic power stations. We were told that, for this reason, we should press ahead with the development of such stations.
That forecast, made in the best faith only 10 years ago, has proved to be absolutely wrong. Coal is pouring out of our ears, while oil is not only pouring out of the ground, but is being found under the sea and the supplies have to be corked. Perhaps we would have done better to have developed nuclear propulsion in ships, which would have been more in keeping with our position as a maritime nation. If there is centralised Government control and mistakes are made they will be gargantuan. They will affect the whole prosperity of the country and the viability of the economy.
§ Mr. Crossman
I accept that view, but even though the best available advice is sometimes mistaken, should one therefore disregard it?
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
Certainly, I think that one should take advice. The theme of the Government's policy for science is to decentralise so that decisions are taken by people who know the problems in their Departments. As I understand it, the only difference between our philosophies is that the Labour Party believes in greater centralisation than we do. I say that if there were such centralisation the mistakes made would be on a gargantuan scale and might affect the whole economy.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
I believe that the matter should be decentralised to a very great degree and that decisions should be taken. My theme is that the Minister for Science should collect and coordinate, but not control. I believe that in that way we shall get a more sensible scientific policy.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
I cannot give way again, because there are many other hon. Members who wish to speak.
I congratulate the hon. Member for Coventry, East on the masterly way in which this whole campaign about the "brain drain" has been developed. It was not for nothing that he was a master of his work in the Psychological Warfare Department during the war, particularly at "black propaganda". He must have been very proud of the number of headlines which he squeezed out of the British Press on this issue. Day after day, when tremendous things were happening—an aircraft carrier and a destroyer in collision off Australia and 85 people losing their lives—everything was swept out of the headlines by the story of one scientist going to America.
I congratulate the hon. Gentleman, in all sincerity, on the admirable way he conducted the campaign. I suppose that it was accidental, but he got massive co-operation from the B.B.C. on this issue. Perhaps it was just coincidence that he and the present Director-General of the B.B.C. served together in the same department during the war.
§ Mr. Crossman
I must say in defence of the Director-General that he served in propaganda with the B.B.C., but that if the hon. Gentleman is associating me with black propaganda he ought not to associate Hugh Carleton Greene with black propaganda. He fought it tooth and nail all his life and my misfortune was to try to keep the peace between him and Sefton Delmer. He will not confirm that we both conducted black propaganda.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman knows the difference between black propaganda, psychological propaganda and ordinary propaganda. He was brought up in a good school and I congratulate him on his achievements in this respect.
One thing which has not been mentioned in the debate is the quality of British scientists. The winning of Nobel Prizes is just one yardstick and may not be perfect, but in the period 1945–62, about 40 Nobel Prizes have gone to the United States, 20 to Britain, six to West Germany, five to the U.S.S.R. and no other nation has won more than three. This reflects the quality of our scientists. 133 We hear much from hon. Members opposite about Britain not being well placed in leagues, but I am sorry that they did not say that this was a league in which Britain was top of the whole Western world with the exception of the United States, and top of the world on a per capita basis.
Quantity has expanded enormously. To have 312,000 qualified scientists and technologists by 1966, if not earlier, a 50 per cent. expansion in nine years, is no mean achievement. From the O.E.C.D. statistics, we are doing as well in the amount of money devoted to science expressed as a percentage of our gross national product. We are comparable with the United States, and this is another league in which we are either top or second. Let this go out from the House of Commons tonight and be given the sort of publicity by the other side which is given when we are not in such a favourable position.
What has emerged from the opening speeches is that we are in favour of scientists being allowed to emigrate and immigrate. There must be movement of scientists and this is good for them and for the free world and international understanding in the long term. The Labour Party has a slightly split mind on this issue. In a pamphlet of 1961 called Science and the Future of Britain, to which the Leader of the Opposition wrote the preface, the Labour Party said:Britain will have to provide its quota of trained scientists and engineers…This refers to overseas development. It went on:Our export of experts must be planned.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman said that. The Ian Bushes of the future should know that they will have to get a permit, because they must be planned by the Labour Government. Here we have the control and planning which we have always said were dear to the heart of the Labour Party.
In his Swansea speech of 25th January, the Leader of the Opposition took a different line. This was during the campaign on the "brain drain" and he said: 134The export of British scientists is one export which will fall sharply under a Labour Government.The right hon. Gentleman flatters himself if he thinks that it is the only export which will fall. However, I am concerned not with that issue, but with the prediction that the ability of scientists to go is to be planned and is expected to fall. The hon. Member for Coventry, East took the opposite and more sensible view, a view probably more representative—that some exchange is necessary and even desirable.
I have intervened in the debate only because I have spent most of my working life in the electronics industry, which is probably the most science-intensive in the country. It employs about 4,600 qualified scientists and technologists and spends more than £50 million every year on research and development. On the other side, during my time as a junior Minister, I was fortunate enough to serve in two Ministries making intensive use of science—the Air Ministry and the Admiralty. Such remarks as I make constructively are geared to my knowledge of the industry and my experience of those Ministries.
In Ministries, particularly those two, which could make great use of research and development—here I agree with the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu)—there is a poverty of scientists, and they are not sufficiently integrated with the Administrative ranks of the Civil Service. It is not enough having scientific civil servants in a hole and corner, thinking over the problems, but not integrated all the way up. There should be scientific advice at every level, otherwise the Board of Admiralty—or Navy Board as it may he called—will find decisions taken at a low level and then passed up and up with no one qualified to query and probe and ask the necessary questions, or even understand the answers if they are given.
I saw this very clearly in the Admiralty. The staff vere very kind to me, not expecting Ministers to understand electronics and to send for the experts and to ask the necessary questions, but they were very courteous to a Minister who could.
We have to have a revolution in the thinking of the Civil Service, in the 135 whole recruiting of the Civil Service and the way in which scientific advice is used in every Ministry. Incidentally, 18 months ago the Treasury concluded that it was unsound and unwise to have separate ladders on which there were the economic advisers and the administrative advisers. The two ladders were integrated so that an economic expert was alongside the administrator. This is exactly what should be done in other Ministries, so that the administrator is matched by the scientist.
If this is done, we will not get the same mistakes, mistakes which, in total, cost the country a great deal of money and the Ministries a great deal of time. If an error is made in a weapon, it takes a long time to develop an alternative. I would follow this general concept right into the Cabinet. One is not allowed to talk about Cabinet committees other than the Economic Policy Committee, the E.P.C., which has been made public. However, if there is an Economic Policy Committee, why not a Technical Policy Committee? The repercussions of technical decisions throughout our national life are tremendous and I hope that the Cabinet will match its Economic Policy Committee with a Technical Policy Committee.
§ Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us what he did while he was a Minister to bring about the policy which he is now advocating?
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
When the hon. Gentleman has served as a junior Minister, he will know that it is very difficult, particularly in one of the longest established Ministries, to make a very great impression on the moment of inertia. However, we got one engineer officer on the Board of Admiralty. The appointment was made just after I left, but I was delighted that it was made.
§ Mr. Lubbock
If there were more Cabinet Committees they would not contribute anything to informed public discussion about which the hon. Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) spoke.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. That was to be my next point. I think that in this House we should use the basis of the Estimates 136 Committee to have a system which can effectively police, if that is the right word, or probe scientific matters. Perhaps it would be possible to have Sub-Committee C, or D, or E to deal with scientific problems. If that happened—and perhaps my right hon. Friend will deal with this in winding up—those who were trained in science would automatically gravitate to that Committee. It would allow scientists coming into the House to make fuller use of their talents, and I believe that it would be healthy for the House of Commons, for informed opinion outside the House, and for the work which we do or which the Estimates Committee does. This matter has been put forward by several speakers today and I hope that it will be seriously considered.
I deal next with the relationship between the Minister for Science, the Secretary of State for Education, and industry. I am a little worried that, because my right hon. and learned Friend has so much responsibility in the educational sphere, right from the primary schools to the higher education in our universities, and because he has this scientific responsibility as well, that he may not give enough attention to the matter on which this country depends, namely, research and development in industry.
When I went back to industry from the Front Bench and joined a firm with factories in Nottingham, the first thing that I did was to go to Nottingham University to meet the head of the engineering department and of the physics department. I was agreeably surprised at the warm welcome that I received. I was told that they were delighted to meet someone from a, local firm because although the firm had been there for 50 years it had never had a close relationship with the university. I have studied this matter in Switzerland, in West Germany, and in the United States. They make much better use than we do, as consultants and as advisers, of trained brains in their universities. They ask them to do a little sponsored research, which is a good thing because it keeps the universities up to date with the problems, techniques, and technologies of industry.
It is a two-way flow, because the university can go to the factories and say that now that these techniques are being adopted they will shape their teaching to take account of them. I am 137 sure that that must be done, and I hope that as our provincial universities expand, not just the big firms, but the small firms, too, will take an interest in our universities. If that is done, nothing but good will come out of it.
We have had a good debate, and I think that some constructive suggestions have been made. We on this side of the Committee have learned a little more of the official Opposition policy, although we are still unclear on a number of items. In conclusion, I congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend on a first-class speech.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ Dr. Jeremy Bray (Middlesbrough, West)
I think that the Committee will be a little sympathetic towards the Minister because of the irony of the scientists in choosing to mark what may be his swan song as overlord for science by the discovery of the Omega-minus particle. It seems a most unfortunate appellation.
It is quite clear that this debate has wandered widely from the initial question of the migration of scientists. Our science policy has been a matter of considerable interest to hon. Gentlemen opposite. It has been a little misunderstood, particularly on the question of the freedom of research and the direction of research. There is an admirable statement on this in the Robbins Committee's Report which I am sure we on this side of the Committee find wholly acceptable. Perhaps I might remind the Committee of some of the things said in that Report. One is:…it is not reasonable to expect that the Government which is a source of finance, should be content with an absence of coordination or should be without influence thereon.The Report also says:In a world in which resources are limited it is neither sensible nor feasible that every centre should be entitled to all kinds of development expenditure…and it is right that there should be a body with the power of decision.In the universities it is the University Grants Committee which performs that function. In the research councils it should perhaps be closer to the Government. And the Report says that there must bea body with power both to allocate and also to deny.138 That is surely the answer to the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Sir Ian Orr-Ewing). The Robbins Committee recognises the need for this central body with power both to allocate and also to deny. If that is true in higher education, with all the important questions of academic freedom attaching thereto, surely the hon. Gentleman would agree that it is also true in a considerable measure in industry?
We are taking massive decisions. The Concord decision will mop up 40 per cent. of the total technological effort in the aircraft industry. The Channel tunnel is another such project, and there may be major projects in future which will take a substantial part of our effort. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that these decisions should be left to the long-term play of individual pressures, and should be presented to the Lord President of the Council, as overlord for practically everything, for him to make up his mind from his own superior wisdom without any overall strategy? That would be a fantastic state of affairs, but it is the state of affairs that exists today.
During the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Sir A. V. Harvey) intervened to point out the performance of the aircraft industry. In 1961–62 that industry mopped up 38½ per cent. of the total research and development expenditure in manufacturing industry, but it provided only 5 per cent. of the net output of manufacturing industry, and only 4 per cent. of exports. The R. & D.—export ratio was higher than in any other major industry. That is, we got fewer exports per £ of research from aircraft than from anything else. Surely there is a misdirection of technological effort here? The electronics department, about which the hon. Member for Hendon, North knows a great deal, accounted for 13½ per cent. of research and development, but produced only 2.5 per cent. of exports.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
I think that the hon. Gentleman is trying to be fair, and I am sure he will recognise that in both those industries a large proportion of the R. & D. expenditure goes for defence purposes. Of course there is a spill-over into the civil field, but basically those industries are very busy in the defence of our nation.
§ Dr. Bray
The hon. Gentleman is aware that much of the defence R. & D. effort is also intended to produce exports, for example, the Bloodhound and other missile systems.
To return to the original question of the "brain drain", it is obvious that when people talk about typewriters it is not typewriters about which they are worried. It is generally the atmosphere in which they work, and I think that that atmosphere should be a matter of grave concern to the House. I agree with all that the hon. Member for Hendon, North said about technological problems, not only in Government but in industry generally. I heartily support the suggestion that was made about the setting up of a Committee of this House to keep this matter continuously under review.
It is when we go from the pure scientist to the engineer that we see the full dangers facing us. The Birmingham University chemical engineering department last year sent more than 50 per cent. of its Ph.D.s abroad, all to the United States. In the control engineering section of Imperial College ten people came out of their diploma and Ph.D. course. Four were overseas students and returned abroad. Of the six English students on the course, five went to the United States, so that out of ten post-graduates we kept only one in this country. That is an appalling situation.. The hon. Member for Macclesfield said that it is not a problem which exists in the aircraft industry, and he is absolutely right. Why does it not exist there? I think for the reason about which we have already been talking, that the aircraft industry, very largely, is a well researched industry and one in which there is obviously no challenging the engineer and the technologist as the person who in the end must be very near to the centre of decision.
In the aircraft industry the engineer feels that he is wanted; that he is a vital person; that they cannot get on without him. There is a tremendous lot of work for him to do, and so he stays. That is not true of the great mass of British industry today. But it is not a simple problem. The hon. Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) quoted figures showing that the United States will be about 30 per cent. short of their require- 140 ments for scientists and engineers in the next decade. That is not peculiar to the United States. It represents our position and that of other advanced countries and under-developed countries as well.
In this situation we have nothing to gain by an absolute independent nationalism. Nor, in fact, has the United States anything to gain. If the U.S.A. could gain something by importing a Ph.D. from Britain they could—and they recognise it—gain a great deal more by employing that Ph.D. in Britain, or in Europe, where he would be in contact with the whole of his scientific fraternity and could bring back ideas from the United States research laboratory in Europe to the parent organisation. We see that I.B.M. has set up a laboratory in this country, and another in Europe. The American pharmaceutical industry has announced that it will move an increasing number of research workers into this country, for the entirely unsatisfactory reason that the legislation here is much too lax on the testing of new drugs. That should be looked into. But that is happening. There is American research coming to this country.
It is obvious that we shall not be able to meet the needs of agricultural research by a national effort. Our agricultural research workers in the underdeveloped countries are coming out fast because they are unable to work under the old conditions or under the present organisations there. An international research organisation, perhaps under the F.A.O., would have a better chance to survive in, say, Trinidad or East Africa than the workers which we have there now and which are coming out fast.
In the sphere of international cooperation D.S.I.R. has its tail up because someone has come back to do research into the computer side of printing and typography. That is excellent. But we should be "muscling in", not only into British industry but into the American situation, if this is something which we can do. Let us "go to town" about it and really cash in, and get profit from the exploitation of overseas markets. We have not been talking about science at all today but only about the principles of scientific policy, which is a peculiarly frustrating subject. I think 141 that it is an extremely unhealthy one for a Minister to spend umpteen years frustrating himself upon. But, when we get down to the details, a great deal of what we have been discussing and what has been the failure of the policy of this Government can be better understood.
To do something about the situation if we are developing a corporate research effort with the United States—and this, I think, would be readily agreed on all sides—if we have research institutes linked at least as much with British manufacturing concerns as with American concerns—will it be enough? I do not think that it will be. We need to look at the fundamental decision-making process for Britain, with the allocation of funds and the direction of research, which is causing so much frustration today. We can learn by returning to the experience of the aircraft industry in this matter.
What is the difference in the organisation, the technological organisation, of the aircraft industry, with its relative success in holding scientists, compared with other industries in this country? When I talked to a person in the aircraft industry, working on ancillary equipment, he told me that the demands of the industry are much more exacting than is the case in respect of, say, land transport, mining machinery, or anything like that. In the aircraft industry one works with a single highly complex system, with requirements which either are met—in which case the aircraft flies and is a success—or are not—in which case the aircraft never gets off the ground.
This complete systems thinking in the defence field is what marks out the aircraft industry and gives it a relatively easy technological environment compared with other industries which are much more messy. We may say that there is nothing we can do about this, that it is what is imposed by technology. Or can we transfer some of these benefits? I think that we can. But only by undertaking major complete systems in the civil R and D field and thus providing the discipline and framework and a target for many people to aim at and for different firms to co-operate together; a framework within which we can spread technological "know-how".
142 Such a system would need a great deal of thinking out and working out at senior departmental level, and we are not equipped to do this. I will instance one example. N.R.D.C. has done useful work in backing the Hovercraft project. I have been pressing the Ministry of Transport to sound out what his Department think about the possibility of this project. The Minister says that it is not his responsibility. At the same time N.R.D.C. say that operational research studies in the transport field are not its responsibility. Who is to look at the complete system within which the Hovercraft can work? The answer is that no one is looking at that problem.
We have also seen the lack of systems thinking in relation to practical problems of Government, like smoking. Hon. Members on this side of the Committee have been pressing for the Minister to undertake some serious research into the motivation of smoking. The Minister says, in a lofty manner, that no proposals have been submitted which are worth anything. Possibly not. But is not that because he has no one who is really working and thinking about the subject to see what could be worked out and exploited? Are there not a great many practical investigations which could be carried out, such as, for example, the Minister of Education sees going on in the educational field, investigations which are of practical benefit? We do not get this kind of complete systems thinking in all the spheres of civil policy with the present ministerial set-up. From this complete systems thinking, or a clear objective of policy, there spring endless opportunities for technological tasks and research projects which have to be tackled. This could be the source of the development contracts which the present Minister expects to drop into his lap. This does not happen, as he has found out all too clearly. Either a project is good, in which case it is taken up by private industry, or it is a half-baked project, in which case it is not. Only if imagination is used and fresh thought taken can we get a coherent policy.
If we are to get a much more rapid well thought-out development in civil science we shall, of course, be achieving 143 a much faster rate of expansion, not only of total numbers of scientists employed, but in the field of responsibility of each individual scientist. This in itself would do a great deal to correct the feeling of inferiority and sense of not being wanted which frustrates so many scientists and engineers today. A young man would be required to take on responsibility much sooner. We would not have senior experienced men to man new projects, so we would have to bring young men on much quicker than we do.
We may not be able to increase salary scales to American standards, but we could certainly bring on young men sufficiently fast for the responsibility they would carry in Britain to be vastly greater than anything in an American organisation. At present, generally speaking, the reverse is true because American organisations have grown much faster than any in Britain, but there is no reason why this should be so.
The Minister had a great deal of fun out of the Labour Party proposals. I think he realised—he confessed it at the end of his speech—that in a difficult field such as this one has to feel one's way. But I think he was quite unjustified in the attack he made on the proposal that there should be three Ministers with a major technological interest. He showed how the decision on his side was arrived at. I am sure that if a Cabinet meeting lasted 36 hours to revamp Ministerial responsibility in the Cabinet the present Minister at the end of the 36 hours would be Minister of everything. All the other Ministers would have left the room and there would be a tremendous bellow of laughter while the Minister for Science would be left wondering where the argument had gone wrong.
Obviously, the Minister is not interested in infusing technology into industry. So, of course, that is not the responsibility of the Minister for Science. But the Minister is interested in a sort of grandiose oversight of the British intellectual scene, so of course higher education, school education and research must come together under his over-lordship. It is a little random. Had the Minister been interested in pensions, how difficult this would be. 144 No doubt his splendid advocacy would have carried the day. The Minister has been extremely dogmatic about machinery which has been necessary to counteract his lack of interest in the real substance of science, and certainly in its application.
We certainly need careful thinking about the overall strategy of science and its control, but I do not think the scientific community is persuaded that this is what the Minister has been doing, particularly when the conclusion he has reached owes much more to his own intriguing character than it does to the technological situation with which he is meant to be dealing.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Sir Hugh Linstead (Putney)
I listened with particular pleasure to the speech of the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, West (Dr. Bray), especially when he made certain comments about the Minister, because it so happens that both the hon. Gentleman and my right hon. and learned Friend are distinguished constituents of mine. I felt that I stood in an avuncular rôle to both of them.
I should like to make brief reference to two points which the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, West, has just made and which, I think, are important. When he drew attention to the fact that many United States firms have factory and research establishments here, he underlined the unreality of some of the lamentations about the "brain drain". As he said, it has been found by a number of United States firms that instead of taking British scientists from here to the States it may be better worth their while to employ them in this country. Can one say that work done by British scientists can be regarded as a "brain drain" when they physically stay in Britain?
§ Sir H. Linstead
I hope that the hon. Member will not think me anti-social if I ask him to allow me to continue.
Another point to which the hon. Member referred was the return home of British scientists who have been working in newly-developing countries, particularly those of Africa. It is worth mentioning that the Medical Research Council has devised a system of 145 deferred contracts which enable those men to remain in African countries doing research work there with the certainty that if, for any reason, their job on the spot collapses there is waiting for them a contract here. It assures them of employment by, in this case the M.R.C., and secures their pension rights. Something of that sort may need to be developed in other fields as well, to keep key scientific workers whose work in Africa, may be extremely beneficial to this country.
The particular point in this wide field to which I want to refer is the development of scientific research in relation to the underlying political issue, which is: what is the proper machinery for encouraging research in the public sector? It we settle that question, the quantity of research and how much of our national resources we devote to research becomes a normal straightforward question of Government priorities.
It is the set-up which is vital, the manner and extent of Government control over research activities in universities and research councils. If we get that wrong the content of current research will be in danger of becoming a day-to-day political and parliamentary issue, as I feel it was anxiously desired by some hon. Members opposite it should be.
That would be fatal to long-term projects, certainly would antagonise the scientific world, and waste men and money in the long term. One could put it in its crudest form by saying that nothing would accelerate the "brain drain" more certainly than a set-up which required the accounting officer of the Ministry of Technology to justify before the Public Accounts Committee how expenditure on scientific research by research councils and universities was being applied.
Developing that theme further, I wish to make a brief reference to the work of the Medical Research Council, because it happens that I have the honour of representing this House on that Council. I had anticipated that there would be a good deal of criticism of the Medical Research Council in relation to the "brain drain", but, having sat through the whole debate, it seems to me that that Council comes very well out of such criticism as there has been.
146 The only criticism came from the hon. Lady the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart), who spoke, in passing, of the uncertainty of some scientists working on projects financed by the M.R.C. They said that they were worried because they were not certain whether or not those projects would be taken over by their university. I cannot understand their uncertainty. It is true, of course, that at a certain stage the Medical Research Council will ask a university if it is ready to take over a project and the university may say "Yes" or "No". That may depend on the University Grants Committee and on the money it makes available to the university, but that should be no source of uncertainty for the scientist. He knows that the money is coming from either one pocket or the other—from the Council or the university and from his point of view I should have thought that it was immaterial from which it came.
I should like to give the Committee two brief sets of figures which were included but not apparent in the figures which my right hon. and learned Friend gave to the House at the beginning of the debate. The expenditure of the Medical Research Council in 1953–54 was only £1.8 million. By 1963–64, it had risen to £7 million and next year it will be over £8 million. That is a growth of about four times over 10 years. The research grants have grown by the same figure.
What is particularly significant is the fact that 83 per cent. of all applications for grants made to the Medical Research Council are accepted. I feel that it can truly be said that no worth-while idea which any worker in the medical field has to bring forward, for which he desires finance, need ever go without being satisfied. After all, 83 per cent. of all applications is an extremely high percentage.
When I first joined the Council I asked myself several questions: why, in these days, £4 million a year on medical research? Why not £40 million a year? How do we fix the figure? This question was echoed from the other side of the Committee earlier in the debate. Now that I have had more experience of the way in which applications and ideas come to the Council, I can see that the answer represents the fundamental difference between the two sides of the Committee. The attitude which has been shown on 147 the other side of the Committee towards the question, "How are we to regulate Government control over science?" seems to suggest that they rely upon inspiration and encouragement and direction from above. Curiously enough, that is not how scientific discoveries are made and how science works.
In my experience, scientific discoveries arrive by a much more subtle, lively and natural growth, from scientists working in the scientific field, including doctors working in the medical field; and the duty of the central Government is to create machinery to assess the value of those ideas as they come to the surface and to choose those which are worth backing. But they should not attempt to impose from on top lines of research or seek to direct the activities, thoughts and ideas of scientists. That way, I am sure, lies perhaps a short-term result but long-time sterilisation and long-term revolt by the scientists.
I do not think that this arises among scientists from any wish for apartheid. It is simply because the best and the most profound work, and ultimately the most valuable work, is done only in conditions of great freedom, removed from the pressure of day-to-day departmental expediency. I want to give an example of the sort of problem which might arise if, as the Leader of the Opposition suggested, the Minister of Health were to take over responsibility for the Medical Research Council. Not long ago the Minister of Health had to make a very difficulty decision about poliomyelitis vaccine. Should he stop innoculating the children of this country with a dead vaccine and shift over to innoculating with a live vaccine? In other words, would he let loose throughout the community a very attenuated form of poliomyelitis? That was a very hot political decision to have to make.
The Minister went to the Medical Research Council, which was no part of his Department and did not take its orders from him, and asked its advice. After appropriate inquiries and after assessing experience in other parts of the world, the Medical Research Council, on the scientific evidence alone, advised the Minister that it was safe for him to use the live vaccine. Had the members of the Council been his servants, for whose 148 decision he was personally responsible, he would have been in a far weaker position had it happen by any chance that the advice given to him proved to be wrong. I am sure that the research councils, in their rôle as advisers to Ministers,have the strongest grounds for being kept completely independent of the executive Departments which they advise.
The appointment of my right hon. and learned Friend as responsible both for science and for the universities will, I think, help us in this. I believe that the claim which the scientist as a research worker makes for independence from Government direction in his day-to-day work extends to a great deal of the work of the universities and that, in spite of the heavy sums of money which we give to them, we must allow the universities the same sort of independence as we must allow to our scientific research workers. One of the most delicate tasks of the new Secretary of State for Education and Science will be to cushion the research councils, the University Grants Commission, the research workers of the universities and other institutions of university status against undue direction or interference by the Executive. Education, as much as research, must be kept independent of the executive Government. Think what a Minister of Education could do if he started trying to interfere with the way in which history was taught in the schools.
But, when we have said all that, there is another side to the picture. When the fullest claims have been made for independence from the executive, I feel that those bodies which are granted that independence cannot claim to be entirely insulated from the political forces which create and sustain them. Particularly when scientists claim that they are entitled to an effective voice in the use which is made of their discoveries, they must accept a responsibility to the State which gave them their freedom. It therefore seems to me that we have a right to expect of the universities broadly an identification of their policies with national needs.
Parliament cannot abandon all responsibility for the spending of university money. It must ask the universities and others who use the money to satisfy 149 Parliament that it is being used wisely and profitably. If those who receive that money are unable to find a means of satisfying Parliament, then ultimately, they will find themselves before the Public Accounts Committee, upstairs, and their last state, I am sure, will be worse than the first.
The research councils present annual reports to Parliament, and on the basis of those reports Parliament—not the Executive—can discuss their work. There is no similar record of the achievements of the universities. The annual report of the University Grants Committee is not an annual report from universities. I believe that one of the duties of my right hon. and learned Friend should be to study ways and means of justifying, without detailed control, the great sums for research which the State is investing in the universities as much as in the research councils.
If the universities can find a way of doing this, then what is vital in their freedom can properly be preserved, but if they cannot find a way by which they can satisfy this House on the manner in which they are spending their resources, then, sooner or later, they will be brought to account on a plane which will threaten the whole basis of their independence.
§ 8.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)
As a member of the Public Accounts Committee, perhaps I might tell the hon. Member for Putney (Sir H. Linstead) that I do not think that any of us on that Committee—and I think that the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) will bear me out in this—have ever suggested that we as a Committee should interfere with the details of university research. Far be it from us to do that. Equally, some of us are worried, for reasons of democracy, that, for instance, vast expenditure on university buildings should not in some way be accountable for the House of Commons. Perhaps the hon. Member will agree that there is a distinction between the capital cost of buildings and research—
§ Sir H. Linstead
The point I wanted to make was that the initiative for the accounting should come voluntarily 150 from the universities rather than being imposed on them from above.
§ Mr. Dalyell
I may be excused from arguing that at length, but this is, perhaps, just one more argument in support of the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, West (Dr. Bray) and the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Sir Ian Orr-Ewing) that there should be a Select Committee, with power to ask witnesses to come before it, to discuss these highly sophisticated and tricky matters.
I agree with the hon. Member that we cannot see the "brain drain" in terms of black and white but rather in various subtle shades of grey. None the less, as one who has raised the question with the Prime Minister, perhaps I should use my time to offer constructive suggestions for improving conditions. 1 shall, therefore, focus on just one problem—that of the space available to universities.
Sir Robert Aitken, Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham, says:There are just not enough square yards to go around.Professor Bush has referred to research he could not do because the university could not afford to make some small modification to a room to control the temperature, or to make it dustproof. Dr. Weiss, cancer research pathologist at Strangeways Research Laboratory, Cambridge, who is going to Buffalo, New York, says:I will be getting much more money—but that is incidental. I am going for much better facilities and more space.My theme is that the equation, more cash from the Treasury equals more space, is misleading, and is a gross oversimplification. I wonder whether we are using existing Treasury capital grants towards university science departments and towards colleges of advanced technology in anything approaching the optimum way. I challenge the assumption that scarce building resources devoted to university science departments and colleges of advanced technology are being used rationally. In particular, I dispute the proposition that permanent buildings constructed at considerable financial cost necessarily lead to contentment amongst scientists.
I should, perhaps, say that the following analysis of the problem of 151 university space owes much to a discussion I had with Professor J. K. Page, Professor of Building Sciences at the University of Sheffield, though the conclusions are my own.
University science departments are constantly changing. Why is this inevitable? It is because the goals they pursue are constantly changing, and new goals are defined each time one individual succeeds another as head of a department. One can take as an example the department of botany at Edinburgh. The last holder of the chair of botany was an extremely distinguished taxonomist, whose interests were in the classifying of natural history. His successor, the present incumbent, is interested in cell biology. It can easily be seen that the needs of the two subjects are entirely different.
Inevitably, change of personnel, in co-operation with time itself, at least modify the initial concepts on which plans for the department were based. Unfortunately, the majority of university planning has taken little notice of the constant change in scientific goals. University planning has been based on statically determined concepts of organisation. The result has been that the buildings provided have tended to act as straitjackets inhibiting growth, and evolution in new directions.
If I am wrong about the evolutionary nature of a university, how do we then account for the huts and shacks which tend to mushroom up in all open spaces around science departments and research centres? These huts and shacks detract from the architectural merits of more permanent buildings, but at the same time they not bear witness to a fundamental unsuitability in relation to changing science of more permanent structures?
Let us ask ourselves why it is that minor works have come to play such a vital rôle in the whole problem of university research? I believe it is, first, because with buildings of a temporary nature the time spent between initial conception and planning is often less than twelve months. There is, perhaps, a second reason in that growth can proceed in a random manner, in small discreet jumps over relatively short periods of time. In the case of major perma- 152 nent buildings the time-lag between initial conception and actual occupation may well exceed ten years. Over a decade it cannot be certain that an organisation to be housed in a building will not have changed very rapidly. Many of the people who started planning will have retired or died or gone elsewhere. The goals of the original members of the planning team may well have altered very radically.
No one thought ten years ago, for example, that now in a Faculty of Arts there would be need for provision for language laboratories. A decade ago who would have forecast the current interest in molecular biology? When I was Max Perutz's guest in Cambridge I was privileged to be taken round what was recognised to be one of the showplaces of modern science, the new molecular biology unit. The rather awkward question occurred to me as to whether we could be quite certain that this building would suit those who would be the leaders in this field of research in the 1970s as well as it suits Sanger, Crick, Kendrew and Perutz? It was significant that some of the research teams were already cribbing gently that there was no provision for this, that, and the other.
Let us be clear that in the eyes of their contemporaries these young men who work for Nobel Prizes are being given what Government Departments call "most favoured treatment". One university has caustically remarked that it cost it £500,000 to appoint a new professor of physics. One might recast this statement in a more general form. The probability that one professor will pursue the same research goals as another approaches zero. Judging from what I saw during a couple of days' visit to C.E.R.N., the European nuclear science centre near Geneva, a sum of £500,000 would be regarded as fairly modest for research into particle physics.
What this means in terms of political policy is that buildings should be relatively cheap and flexible. At present far too many university architects build for eternity. Perhaps it is a little uncharitable to say it, but they may not be uninfluenced by the very human thought of erecting memorials to themselves. Their concern should be not eternity but adaptability. My argument is that if 153 university buildings were designed with adaptability as the first priority there would be far less frustration among our scientists. Even if the adaptable buildings were neither grandiose nor costly, the temptation to cross the Atlantic would decrease. At present, we conceive our buildings as housing departments, the department as the sort of central unit. Might we not do rather better to conceive our buildings as housing individuals or team leaders of scientists?
To be fair to the architects, it is often argued that the particular existing professor who is head of the department at a given point in time should be able to give a general description of the ideal building for his subject. This is the argument. But in fact such a man is of course only human, and he will describe a building which will, first, enable him to fulfil his immediately foreseeable teaching aims and, secondly, he will describe a building which will enable him to expand on his immediate research goals for himself and his colleagues in the general direction in which they are already proceeding. It would perhaps be wrong to ask him to do more.
At the same time—this is a crucial point of my argument—the life of the proposed building is likely to exceed his life as a professional mortal by a factor of six or more. This cannot be really contradicted. In the context of minor fairly temporary works, a professor's description of the needs of his department is of considerable value, since it is probable that the scientific goals that he has in his mind will have enough permanence to last longer than the time that it will take to design, to commission and to use the building in question.
But the concept of once-and-for-all new major departmental buildings may be a useful way of simplifying the goals of the university so that the financial sponsors—i.e., the University Grants Committee—can be persuaded to part with the necessary amounts of public money to put the works in hand. Yet can we be happy about this once-and-for-all major equipment grant? If one has permanent buildings, how does one avoid stating one's detailed requirements too early in the process? For the sake of the Minister of Public Building and Works, who has just come in, how does one avoid stating one's detailed requirements too early?
154 If one has permanent buildings, how should they be designed to incorporate essential long-term flexibility needed to accommodate the new and unforeseen goals of generations of people who will use them later? The trouble is that only too often a group of academic people who are unfamiliar with building face an architect who is unfamiliar with the academic processes to be housed in the proposed building.
The question then arises as to how one establishes sufficient common ground and confidence between the two groups to enable what is, after all, a dynamic process of programme evolution to proceed in a rational way, because one cannot help noting how much time is wasted in the early stages of design by both sides, and a frequent source of trouble here is that proper contact may not take place between the academics and the architect, because a third party, in the shape of the academic administration, interposes itself between the two sides, so that the real client has no contact with the designer.
Should it not be obligatory for any architect chosen to design a science faculty to spend as his first action many days just watching and observing what the scientists actually do in their day-to-day work?
Another trouble is the time wasted on solving problems which have already been solved. Practically every professor of a science subject seems to want to design his own laboratory furniture and his fume cupboards, when perfectly good standard products can be taken off the shelf. Is it heretical to suggest that there should be the same standardisation of basic equipment in the universities as the Ministry of Education has done—and I take the Minister's point—rather effectively in the schools? In view of my implied criticism, I should say that I have a very high regard for the Architects and Buildings Department of the Ministry of Education.
Because my time is limited, I come quickly to a conclusion. First, in urban universities where land is scarce priority in capital grants should be given to buildings which are adaptable shells. Secondly, in new universities, or in universities such as Edinburgh and Durham, 155 where land is relatively easy, priority should be given to temporary buildings for science faculties. Thirdly, the Minister should establish a central register of architects and teams of architects specialising in colleges of advanced technology, technical colleges and university science departments. These architects should derive financial reward and promotion opportunities if they familiarise themselves with scientific method, and special knowledge of the needs of a single discipline, such as physics or biology, should be recognised as a reason for preferment among architects.
Fifthly, achitects should spend a part of their working hours observing what scientists actually do in their day-to-day work. Architects should be offered ten-year contracts to work with a particular university and should not descend once a fortnight from London. Finally, the University Grants Committee, or its successor, should form a university building service, comprised of architects, surveyors, quantity surveyors and other key specialist personnel, with the security and pension rights automatically accorded to a modern profession.
If these or similar conclusions were adopted the individual scientist or team of scientists would have the flexibility to develop in a way that they felt appropriate to the moment. If the scientists felt that they were free to change direction very quickly, if they felt that they could develop their interests with the minimum of delay, I believe that they would cast rather less envious eyes on California and New England.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)
I think that all Governments, particularly when they have been in office as long as the present Government, develop routines and rules of thumb. One of the rules of thumb which this Government have developed is, "Leave it to Quintin". Whenever the Government are subject to pressure for something to be done, and they are either not sure what should be done or not anxious that anything should be done, the matter is referred to the Lord President of the Council. Incidentally, we have not mentioned today the fact that he is also the Minister responsible for sport. Every now and again he puts on his sporting 156 tie, fraternises with sportsmen, baffles them with science and goes back to his meagre office without costing the Government a penny.
When we were in real difficulties in the North-East the right hon. and learned Gentleman was sent for. He put on a cloth cap, we never knew why—
§ Mr. Willey
—and he came up to the North-East, spent an enjoyable afternoon there every few months, and then wrote a report to which no one paid any attention and which is now completely forgotten.
Now this has become not so much a rule of thumb as a slogan. If we should suffer the misfortune of the Government succeeding in the next General Election, while the right hon. and learned Gentleman may not attain his major political ambition, the Prime Minister may well be faced with a one-man Cabinet.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is taking on not only sport, not only the North-East Coast, but the whole of education, the universities, higher education and schools, science, research and development and all the multifarious duties of the Lord President. This does not make sense, because one has only to look a little further to see that the Minister of Education is left undisturbed in charge of his Department with a seat in the Cabinet. The right hon. and learned Gentleman talked about single Ministerial responsibility in the Cabinet. He seemed to have forgotten that his right hon. Friend is still at the Ministry of Education and still has a seat in the Cabinet.
I acquit the Lord President of the Council of empire building. He is residuary legatee. The responsibility which he has is a reflection of the lack of decision of the Government in deciding these questions which arise. In view of the position of the Minister of Education, it is clear that no decision has been taken about the Minister of Education, and it will not be taken until after the election.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke unscientifically about there being a single responsibility for science. Not only is there not a single responsibility 157 for education—there are two Ministers with seats in the Cabinet—but, when we consider science, there is the Secretary of State, there is the Minister of Education and his Department, there is the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade—because the Trend recommendations have not been followed and the National Research Development Council is left with the Board of Trade—and there is the Minister of Aviation. So there are four Ministers.
§ Mr. Willey
Yes. And yet the right hon. and learned Gentleman criticises the Labour Party because it proposes that there might be three Ministers responsible for education, science and development.
The Government continue to "duck" issues not only by referring matters to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but also by setting up committees. Political decisions cannot be taken through committees. That is the trouble that the Government continually encounter. They resort to committees because it is a proscrastinating, time-consuming mechanism. But time is the essence of some questions.
As in the case of the Robbins Report, the Government's decision has come far too late. Everything that the Government are now doing should have been done three or four years ago. The committees that the Government set up are also bound by their terms of reference. All honour to the Robbins Committee for bursting through its terms of reference, but that Committee reported upon the immediate situation only because it went beyond its terms of reference. Many of the major questions which we have been discussing today are political questions which have to be decided by the right hon. and learned Gentleman.
If we are talking about Ministerial responsibility, I prefer the opinion even of the right hon. and learned Gentleman than of Lord Robbins and his distinguished academics. This is a matter of politics. In the case of the Trend Committee, we face the position that that Committee itself stated that it had not examined the issues of policy which arise. When we touch upon I.R.D.A. 158 and the question of development, the Trend Report says that it is a matter of policy. That Committee apologised for trespassing upon policy.
We must get the policy right first, but that is what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has failed to do. He has failed to tackle the question of policy. This is the political responsibility of the Government Front Bench. The initial, cardinal decision is how positive and constructive a responsibility the Government will take for the development of British industry.
Making what might be called my maiden speech on science, I claim the indulgence of the Committee. The right hon. and learned Gentleman talked about the spectrum of science. I do not quarrel with Sir Solly Zuckermann, but we can go beyond the sprectrum. We go to development exploitation and this is what we have been talking about. This is beyond the spectrum. The decision to undertake large-scale development exploitation of an invention or discovery cannot—and this is the mistake which the Lord President makes—be founded wholly, or even mainly, upon scientific considerations. The factors which affect the decision here are financial. This is a matter for the Government. It is a question of priorities. They are economic and they are social, and they come back to the attitude which the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his Government take towards British industry.
I represent a shipbuilding constituency which has suffered very much from this attitude. This is an area in which we cannot afford to have diffusion of responsibility. We have got to have direct responsibility. We have suffered in shipbuilding because, for the life of us, we cannot get a decision—we canont even find out who is responsible for a decision—with regard to the development of marine nuclear propulsion. This is a question where one cannot afford to reduce responsibility. It involves direct political responsibility. The decisions are political and are only expressed in terms of finance and in terms of priorities.
Meanwhile, every other country is overtaking us.
§ Mr. Willey
I have already expressed appreciation about this in another debate. What I am talking about is getting a decision, and what the decision will be, about nuclear propulsion, because in shipbuilding the all-important thing is the method of propulsion.
This is not only a question of Russia and the United States, but West Germany is now way ahead of us. So are other shipbuilding countries.
Another way in which we can approach this problem is to compare British scientific research with research in other countries. This is one thing which the Trend Committee did not do. Approaching this as an amateur, I am inclined to take the right hon. and learned Gentleman's view. I am very impressed by the scale, the scope and the character of British scientific research. The right hon. and learned Gentleman very aptly intervened. What I am concerned about is getting value for money. What value are we getting for all this research? This is where we seem to lag behind other countries. Where we lag behind other countries is with regard to the technological development of our research.
No one is quarrelling with the size of the research. In fact, this aggravates the problem. It is because we have such widespread scientific research that we are entitled to inquire—and this is a matter of political responsibility—why we in Britain are not getting greater benefit from it, and this is why we feel, and why this is a political decision, that there ought to be much more single-minded concentration on technology, greater attention to the transference to industry of the benefits of the first-rate British research we have got.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman criticised us on a false ground on the number of Ministers. We have already four Ministers. We suggest we should reduce them to three. I am certain that the proposal of the Leader of the Opposition is right. We need to have a Ministry for Research and Technology, and 160 the best place for this appears to be the present Ministry of Aviation, adapted for these purposes.
Of course, we would not get a tidy solution. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not got a tidy solution. He was quite misinformed, he quite misled the Committee. He has not accepted the Trend Report. We have still got responsibility for N.R.D.C. left with the Board of Trade. We would not achieve, any more than he has achieved, an absolutely tidy result, but what we would do would be to place the emphasis where this should be placed as a political responsibility. We would place it clearly where it ought to be.
This is not what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has done. We know his bell-ringing propensities. He tried to make this a political issue, but it is not, in fact, a political issue. The F.B.I., in its proposals, supports the sort of approach to the problem we are considering.
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
If the hon. Gentleman says that he is prepared to accept the emphasis which the Trend Committee adopted, may I call his attention to paragraphs 112 and 113 of its Report, where he will find it is absolutely in conflict with what the hon. Gentleman for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) said when he interrupted my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave).
§ Mr. Willey
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman. I did not say anything of the sort. I realise his difficulty. He has sat here conscientiously throughout the debate, and has not been called, and he has now apparently uttered a few of the sentences of the speech that he had intended to make.
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
On a point of order. The hon. Member has imputed to me a motive which is untrue. He has suggested that the only reason why I interrupted him was to try to show that I had been sitting in the Chamber throughout the debate. I would ask for your protection, Mr. Grant-Ferris, because that was not my motive, and it was a base motive to impute.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Grant-Ferris)
I do not think that the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) need worry unduly. I 161 am sure that the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) did not intend to impugn his honour.
§ Mr. Willey
I am much obliged, Mr. Grant-Ferris. I assure the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) that I had no intention of attributing any motive to him at all. I merely called attention to the fact that the hon. Gentleman has patiently sat throughout the debate.
We have no quarrel with the F.B.I. in this approach. It says that substantial sums of taxpayers' money ought to go in promoting British industry. Our difference of opinion is on another score. We believe that if this is done—and it ought to be done and the Ministerial responsibility for its being done should be recognised—then the taxpayer should get a return on his money; that if the taxpayers' money goes in to improve British industry, an equity interest should follow. Just as any other large-scale investor would insist on this, so ought the taxpayer to insist on it. In this approach to the problem we have the F.B.I. on our side.
If I may strike a chord of agreement with the right hon. and learned Gentleman, he has said that if we get the educational pattern right we shall get everything right and that if we get the educational pattern wrong we shall not get anything right. I agree with him. I agree that in their proposals the Government have got education right, but though they have got it right, it is immediately vitiated by the fact that we find the Minister of Education sitting there undisturbed with a seat in the Cabinet. However, as I say, this is merely tiding over matters until the General Election.
However, having got education right, the right hon. and learned Gentleman must, by definition have got science wrong. I mentioned the right hon. and learned Gentleman's responsibility for sport. Science is a similar peripheral activity for him. We know what the effects of the demands of education, if this problem is to be seriously tackled, will be on the Secretary of State. I call in aid the Economist. It has been referred to, but not yet quoted. I agree with the Economist. I take pleasure in agreeing with the Economist, and I like recording the occasions. It said:This must he the only country ever to have established a ministry to watch over the pro- 162 gress of science and then to decide this office was not worth keeping open. Last week's decision to close down the six-year-old office of the Minister for Science, and shovel its responsibilities for civil research into a new and bloated Ministry of Education, shows a dreadful misunderstanding of the processes of science. After this, it should surprise nobody if more and more scientists, with normal ambitions and a man's normal cupidity, decide to get out while the United States still has jobs for them.This is related to the "brain drain". It is the atmosphere, the sense of purpose, which is either there or not there, which affects the decisions which individuals take. It is not a question, as we have emphasised time after time, of a fair exchange of scientists. It is the particular question of a scientist going to the United States. Turning back to the debate in July, the remarkable thing is that the hon. Gentleman who was then the Parliamentary Secretary dealt with the problem. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman know what the then Parliamentary Secretary said?
The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Denzil Freeth)—then the Parliamentary Secretary—said that the Advisory Council had reported a few years ago. This was the report, apparently, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was considering. We now know, however, that two months before the debate in the House of Commons the Advisory Council, as a matter of urgency, had sent a report to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He cannot, therefore, claim that he was considering it as a matter of urgency when, in his meagre office, his Parliamentary Secretary was briefed to refer to a report made two or three years ago.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has taken some action in a very serious situation which he tried to laugh off today. Where does he stand? Is this a serious issue or not? He tried to create the impression that it was not.
§ Mr. Willey
He was trying to create the impression that it was an issue about which he could do little. The Advisory Council told us that there had been a definite increase in emigration, so that between 7 per cent. and 8 per cent, of our annual intake of Ph.D.s—our highest quality scientists trained at great cost—were being exported to one of our major industrial competitors. It went on:The importance of science and technology to the economic future of the country is such 163 that any action we can take to offset in any way the attraction to the scientist of emigration to the U.S. must be to our advantage.When we held the debate last summer, although the right hon. and learned Gentleman had had that Report before him for two months, he had taken no action and his Parliamentary Secretary was not briefed to mention it.
§ Mr. Denzil Freeth
If the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) will refer to the debate in July he will see that I said then:The Advisory Council on Scientific Policy reviewed the situation a few years ago…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th July, 1963, Vol. 681, c. 57]I only referred to that review because it had been published in the Report of the Advisory Council. It would surely have been wrong for me to have referred to a report made by the Council to the Minister which had not then been published and put in the possession of hon. Members.
It would have helped the Committee if the hon. Gentleman had said that the Minister had received a further report as a matter of urgency from the Advisory Council and that this was now being considered. This situation is like that of the school leaving age. Table a Motion of censure and the Government will do something. Do not let the right hon. and learned Gentleman pretend that he is eager and anxious to do something. Both his speech today and his speech in Fbruary last year in the House of Lords show that he is not.
§ Mr. Hogg
I was anxious not to interrupt the hon. Member, for he is making a very interesting speech but he really must not say that these actions—which I announced in a Written Answer at great length in answer to the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) some weeks ago—have been taken as a result of this debate. They were taken months ago and have been repeatedly referred to in Parliament.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has been slower to action than I was willing to give credit for. I was talking about the debate last summer. Months after the debate last summer he woke up and began to take action. He has glossed over that action. The two major sectors in which action is needed are salaries and opportunities for promotion. But he has not taken steps to put them right.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that salaries have been referred to the N.I.C., but he knows well enough that the university staffs have been sorely upset by the salary issue for years, while promotion scales need radical overhaul in order to afford opportunities for professorships. But this is not only a matter of scientists being in short supply and leaving the country. The Report which the right hon. and learned Gentleman received last May called his attention to the shortage of technologists. It said that too low a proportion of the ablest young men took up technological places at university level.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows the figures which I have called in aid in previous debates. It is very disturbing, in the light of the Report which the right hon. and learned Gentleman received last May, to find that when we began the present academic year, in spite of all the pressures on higher education, there were 107 vacancies for first degree courses and 427 vacancies for Dip.Tech. courses in the C.A.T.s and 212 vacancies for courses of degree standard. This is something which he must take seriously. My hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) referred to engineers, and the Advisory Council says that we have to offset the intellectual discrimination against engineers and to get a better climate for technology. This is all part and parcel of the problem.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has complete responsibility. He seems to forget that the Robbins Committee said that we were facing an emergency. He may have some difficult problems, but he has to get on with them. There is the problem of the status of the C.A.T.s. Here we have a university institution which, in this context, must preserve its links with industry, a 165 form of university which will not cover the whole spectrum of learning. I know that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is suggesting that regional colleges might well be made universities, but the difficulty is greater than that. We have to consider the effect on technical education moving at its apex into higher education, and we have also to see that the practical character of technical education remains.
We have the problem of the teacher training colleges. The right hon. and learned Gentleman expressed surprise that I did not mention this subject in our last debate on education. I did not do so because discussions were going on. But these are urgent matters and if we are thinking about technologists, technicians and scientists, we have to think about the secondary schools from which they are recruited.
We have criticised the tripartite division of secondary education, but, in fact, there has never been such a tripartite division. There have never been to any substantial extent technical grammar schools or technical secondary schools—only 3 per cent., less than the proportion in 1947. If we are talking seriously—and I beg the right hon. and learned Gentleman occasionally to talk seriously—about these problems, we have to get education right. The major difficulty in the secondary schools is getting the specialist teachers.
We are disturbed by the Newsom Report calling attention to the fact that there is a shortage not only of maths and science teachers, but of English teachers, who, are specialists. It was years ago that we called attention to the shortage of maths and science teachers. I remember a debate on education years ago when I quoted Professor Thwaites saying that we might well be past the point of no return. However, very little has been done and within the absolute shortage there is an aggravating shortage, for the proportion of maths and science teachers aged 50 and more is higher than for teachers of other subjects and the proportion with good degrees is lower than among those of other subjects.
We know of the failure of girls' schools to teach students mathematics and science. We were warned about 166 this by the Crowther Report. What have the Government done to deal with the situation? The position is that at O level the number of girls taking mathematics is less than half the number of those taking English language. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman fails to tackle this problem in the secondary schools, it is reflected in higher education, and since about 1959 the swing towards science has ceased. The proportion taking mathematics and science in our universities has begun to fall.
It is all very well for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to speak scoffingly about professors of Greek, but he must recognise that he has some responsibility in this matter. He cannot just continue receiving reports from the Advisory Council that there will be a desperate shortage of scientists, technologists, and technicians unless we do something about our educational system. We must get education right, because if we do not do anything about getting education right we shall not be able to deal with our other problems.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows the trouble in the training colleges. It stems from the instruction which the Minister of Education gave in 1960 that 80 per cent. of the students in training colleges had to be trained for primary education. That was a lack of planning. I have repeatedly said that we knew the second bulge was coming into the schools, but, because the Government did not have a plan, the provision of scientists and mathematicians is now being prejudiced.
Some time ago I made inquiries about the number; of mathematics teachers in training colleges. I found that nine training colleges had no graduate teacher of mathematics; that 13 women's colleges and eight mixed colleges, had only one graduate mathematics teacher; and that 61 colleges had no graduate lecturer in physical science. How can the Government say that they are tackling this problem seriously? What is the point of them noting the fact that we are short of technicians, technologists, and scientists? The Minister of Education should be tickling this problem, and not just merely noting it.
The fact is that grammar schools are just about making do with the number 167 of science teachers that are available. The proportion of science and mathematics teachers is no higher than it was before the war. In fact, in mathematics in some grammar schools the situation is desperate. We have the report of the Incorporated Headmasters Association saying that over the survey year 80 per cent. of the schools had vacancies for mathematics teachers. On average there were two vacancies a year, and in only half the cases were these schools able to fill the position satisfactorily.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows that the position in girls' schools is far worse than it is in boys' schools. If we look beyond the grammar schools, as we must if we are thinking of trained and technically skilled manpower, two out of three boys and girls in our secondary modern schools are taught mathematics and science by someone who has no special knowledge of either subject. We know that no more than 1 per cent. of mathematics teachers in secondary modern schools are graduates while no more than about ½ per cent. of science teachers are graduates.
This is not only a question of tackling the teacher shortage. The present situation has been brought about by a lack of initiative in resorting to other methods to deal with the situation. The survey of the Science Masters' Association showed that the provision of science laboratories in grammar schools even compared most unfavourably with the provision in public schools.
Let the right hon. and learned Gentleman compare what we have done in science with what has been done by Russia and West Germany. They faced far greater difficulties than we have done over the past few years, but they recognised the problem and provided equipment and resources to give all the help they could to the teachers. That is what the Government have not done. What struck me over the past 12 months during the Campaign for Education was the small amount of initiative taken by the right hon. and learned Gentleman in giving a lead on teaching aids, in helping the mathematics and science teachers of which we are so desperately short. These subjects could be considerably helped by television and teachers' aids.
168 I anticipate that the Minister for Public Building and Works will talk about the pounds, shillings and pence. But I want to know what action he is taking. I do not believe that the issue of the "brain drain" is one of pounds, shillings and pence. It is a question of atmosphere and that is why I tackled the right hon. and learned Gentleman when he made his welcome statement on the action about the Robbins Report. He said nothing about the emergency, and it is emergency action that should be taken. We cannot procrastinate and set up committees and working parties.
What about evening universities? What about a university of the air? They are not something which have been advocated only by hon. Members on this side of the Committee. Attention was called in the Report of the Robbins Committee to the evening courses and the potential value of television in higher education. Before he decided to go to the United States Professor Bush said that the most important things were the lack of secretarial assistance, technical assistance, libraries, and the rest.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is not tackling this problem. I congratulate him on his return to form, as was revealed in his speech in the debate today, but speeches will not solve this problem. They have not helped over the past six or seven years. We want action and determination and leadership which is just what we are not getting from this Government.
§ 9.32 p.m.
§ The Minister of Public Building and Works (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)
We have heard some pleasant and agreeable references to my right hon. and learned Friend and a number of interesting points have been made which I must try to deal with. I had hoped that the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) would have elucidated a little more fully the policies of the Opposition. But I have no doubt that that would be a rather too formidable task when there are so many of them.
It is curious that for weeks now the Opposition have been banging the big drum about science in the country and yet all we have heard today is the squeak of the penny whistle. After listening to the hon. Member for 169 Sunderland, North, all we know is that the Opposition will go beyond the spectrum—presumably into the infra red.
A great deal of this debate, as is natural, has been devoted to the problem of the emigration of scientists, and we must get this question into proper perspective. The flow in and out is about 4,000, and everyone has agreed that in itself that is a healthy thing in a free progressive society. I think that more emphasis ought to be placed on the extent to which Britain attracts scientists from overseas, from the United States of America as well as from the Commonwealth, and the reason why this is so.
One reason is that we have always been leaders in basic scientific research. I was glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North (Sir Ian Orr-Ewing) emphasised the quality of our scientists. It is no accident that since the war Britain has had 20 Nobel Prizewinners in physics, chemistry, physiology and medicine, compared with 40 from the United States with a population three times our own, and that in the same period Germany has had six, the U.S.S.R. five and no other country more than three. Because the standard of research is so high people like Professor Lamb, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1955, was pleased to become professor of physics at Oxford University from 1956 to 1962.
It is damaging and untrue to say that British facilities are always inferior. The fact is that our facilities are sometimes better than those in the United States in spite of the fact that they have a gross national product eight times as great as ours. For example, hon. Members may have seen the letter in The Times today which points out that the Cambridge University Chemical Engineering Department is the envy of visitors from the United States. The writer points out that when he worked in a similar department in the United States the building was relatively old, there were typists in the library and when he wanted a vacuum pump he had to mend it himself. That, however, did not in itself inhibit good work being done and most of our Nobel prizewinners have not had spectacularly expensive equipment.
§ Mr. Rippon
This a letter which the Hon. Member can see for himself. It shows that people are coming to this country and back to this country. To take another case, from London University over the three years 1960 to 1963 nine university professors and readers went to the United States but seven came to London from the United States. As my hon. Friend the Member for Carlton (Mr. K. Pickthorn) pointed out, it is not true to say that computers are short. In tie case of one of those coming from the United States to London University—he came from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—it was because the computer unit at London University with the Atlas computer can offer facilities which cannot be obtained in the United States.
We must view with concern the number of scientists, particularly Ph.Ds. who go to the United States, but we should avoid the danger of exaggeration. As the hon. Member for Sunderland, North rightly pointed out, this to some extent is a matter of atmosphere rather than anything else. Unfortunately the more members of the Opposition go around crying "Woe, woe," the more people will be deterred from coming to this country and the more young graduates will be induced to seek to leave.
I think we can put this matter in perspective by saying that over the past five years something of the order of 1,000 scientists went to the United States but we must remember that in January, 1962 there were 123,000 scientists working in this country, excluding engineers and technicians. There are many reasons why scientists go. Sometimes they are personal reasons, sometimes because they want more money—although they may be disappointed when they find out the cost of living in the United States—and sometimes they go because the United States undoubtedly has better facilities in their particular field.
My right hon. Friend has dealt in detail with the action which the Government have taken on the recommendations of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy. We should also bear in mind what Lord Shawcross said the other day. He suggested that some were leaving because 171 they are a little nervous lest the independence of the universities and research institutions may be diminished by a higher degree of Government control. That is not surprising when the Leader of the Opposition says that science must be harnessed to Socialism.
§ Mr. Crossman
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would not wish to misquote Lord Shawcross. Maybe he will also remind the Committee that the first two reasons he gave were the fact that our laboratories are inadequate and salaries are far below the American level. He came to the third point long after his first major point. Why not be fair and state the real reason?
§ Mr. Rippon
Lord Shawcross made the point and I quoted it accurately. Whatever the reason, there is no evidence that primarily the very best of our scientists go. To the Opposition the only brilliant scientists are those who emigrate, but we still retain the great majority of our scientists even if they do not give Press conferences.
Of course we must be concerned, as a number of hon. Members have rightly pointed out, to raise the status of the scientist and to create the right conditions for research. That applies both to universities and to the Government. We certainly have not grudged the money. My right hon. Friend dealt in detail with the tremendous increases in expenditure which have taken place in recent years over the whole field. But we have to remember that there are other limiting factors quite apart from finance in the speed with which universities can be expanded and in particular the speed at which the number of students can be increased without detriment to standards.
The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) dealt with the question of building. On 5th February my right hon. Friend announced that the Government are authorising an increase in the number of building starts for universities from £33½ million to £38 million a year. Of course there is the problem of old buildings, with which my right hon. Friend also dealt. There is also the increase of £20½ million in the recurrent grants for the remainder of the quinquennium, of which about £5 172 million will take account of that problem.
I was particularly interested in what the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) said about building. I agree with a great deal of what he said. Certainly we need our building of schools and universities to be cheap and rapid. My Ministry has been advising individual universities and the University Grants Committee on the employment of industrialised methods and we have been keeping in close touch with the Committee of Vice Chancellors and their building officers. We have suggested that they should form a development group to study requirements and to ensure that they design buildings to meet those requirements. We have already reached the stage where virtually whole universities such as York are being planned and built by the use of modern methods.
I think we can say that throughout the present extension of higher education full attention is being paid to the needs of science. The annual output of professional scientists and engineers has almost trebled since the war which averaged out means a growth rate at compound interest of 7 per cent. per annum. That is not a mean rate by the standards of any country.
Of course it is true that at present there are too few school leavers of the top flight finding their way into mathematics and engineering. We have to demonstrate that technology offers prospects as exciting and important as pure science. That is why we have accepted the recommendation that the colleges of advanced technology should be given university status. Incidentally, that is a further reason for not separating technology from the universities and the Secretary of State for Education.
I agree with what the hon. Member for Edmonton said about the need for more technologists. No one denies this. But here again we undervalue the achievements of this country in this field. The hon. Member said that he wanted proof of value for money. There is no predictable result in research. One may produce nothing for five years and revolutionise the world in ten. But we can say that before the war exports with a high technological content represented one-third of the total. By 1950 it was one-half. It is now two-thirds and it is 173 Sill rising. My right hon. Friend pointed out that total expenditure on research and development in industry trebled from £68 million to £213 million between 1956 and 1962. No doubt that will rise further.
But the most effective application, of science and technology in industry is fundamentally a problem of management rather than of direct Government intervention. Industries should continually be putting to themselves the question, "What shall we export in ten years' time?", and should be telling the scientists what are the right problems for them to tackle. For this to be done successfully more engineers and technologists must undoubtedly be brought into management at every level. Here I think there is general agreement on both sides of the Committee.
All this tremendous upsurge of activity throughout the universities, Government and industry has brought to the fore the question of the organisation of higher education and civil science. There was general acceptance of the decision to have one Secretary of State for Education with responsibility over the whole field in England and Wales. On 6th February the Leader of the Opposition welcomed the Prime Minister's statement with the declaration that it had taken nearly three-and-a-half months for my right hon. Friend to reach the conclusion which the Opposition had put forward in detail on 19th November.
But, leaving aside the fact that he paid no regard to the need to consult outside opinion before making the arrangement, the Leader of the Opposition, as was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke, misconceived the whole nature and purpose of the announcement. On 19th November, the Leader of the Opposition was clearly thinking of two Ministers of Education and Research and Technology. He said that the Government could not look at the problem of one or two Ministers in the field of education without bringing in the question of science and technology. He noted that there were objections both to splitting the responsibility for school education and higher education and for splitting the responsibility for higher education and university research. He described it as a choice of evils and came down in favour 174 of keeping education together and organising science separately.
I suggest that the Government have overcome the difficulty to which the Leader of the Opposition referred by a solution which provides both unity in education and the link between higher education and science. Undoubtedly we all accept that the organisation of civil scientific research and development raises complex problems of relationship between research establishments, Government departments and other users.
This was brought out in the Robbins Report, which emphasised that the business of the main institutions of higher learning is not only education but also the advancement and preservation of knowledge, and that it was therefore essential that research should be carried cut in institutions of higher learning and also essential that research scientists should work in an atmosphere in which initiative and a spirit of independent inquiry could flourish.
This view was endorsed by the Trend Report, which showed that research took half the time and half the money of scientific departments of universities. It is therefore logical that the Secretary of State for Education should be responsible for the universities and should also be responsible for financing scientific research in those universities.
Clearly it was important, as the Robbins Report recommended, that at a time when every effort should be made to encourage and increase technological as well as scientific research, we should strengthen the link between institutions at university level, on the one hand, and Government research establishments and industry, on the other hand. This is a recognition that the spectrum of research and development is continuous and unbroken. But in so far as it is accepted that control of research should be kept as independent as possible of the executive function of Government, then it seems better that the research councils should be most closely linked to the Ministry responsible for the universities. In considering the position of D.S.I.R., the Trend Report divided its function into two parts—first of all a general support of scientific research, particularly in the universities, and secondly the promotion of industrial research and the stimulation of research by industry itself. It 175 recommended that two new research councils—the Science Research Council and the Natural Resources Council. which the Government have agreed to set up
To deal with the remainder of the functions exercised by D.S.I.R. the Trend Committee recommended, and the Government have accepted, the establishment of a new autonomous agency to promote industrial research and development. The recommendation was that this new agency should stand in the same relationship as the research councils because it is so important that the universities and colleges of technology should be closely associated in that way. These are formidable arguments against the Opposition's proposals for a separate Ministry of Research and Technology. In his penetrating speech, my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke was right when he said that one of the dangers of the Socialist proposals is that they want to undermine the independence of the research councils.
While, on the one hand, it is essential that research scientists should work in an atmosphere in which initiative and a spirit of independent inquiry should flourish, it is certainly true—and I accept this fully—that at the same time new scientific knowledge must be increasingly relevant to the efficient function and execution of policy by Government Departments. The hon. Lady the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) missed the point when she thought that the Government's proposals deprived other Government Departments of any real responsibility for science. I would say that the Government's proposals are in no way incompatible with the views of those who argue that diffusion of scientific activity and interest throughout the Government services is essential. My hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon brought out that point very well.
§ Mr. Rippon
The hon. Lady raised particularly the point whether the National Research and Development 176 Corporation, which promotes the development and exploitation of inventions, will continue to be with the Board of Trade—
§ Mr. Rippon
No, I cannot give way again. The Board of Trade will have this responsibility. The Ministry of Aviation remains the largest employer of scientists and technologists—it has about 3,000 of them—and my own Ministry, which has about 1,300 engineers of all kinds, continues to be concerned with research and development. Moreover, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on 6th February, there must, all along, be close co-operation between the research agencies and the relevant Government Departments, and this will be recognised in the arrangements for appointing the controlling bodies.
The Zuckerman Report on the management and control of research and development emphasised—and quite a lot of attention has been paid to this in the debate—that there is need for close participation by scientists in the formulation and execution of departmental policies. This view is implicit in the Trend Report. I must say in this connection that I wholeheartedly agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North (Sir Ian Orr-Ewing) had to say. It is absolutely vital that the administrator, the scientist and the professional man in the Government service should work closely together. In the White Paper, published last December, on the reorganisation of my own Ministry, I emphasised that it is essential to my Ministry's success that administrative and professional staff should regard themselves as being engaged in a common enterprise and as equal partners, and I have made arrangements accordingly.
This is something that is going on all the time in the Government service. I do not think that the Opposition really understand, or give any weight to, the tremendous progress made year by year in carrying out these policies. In the Government service we are ensuring that scientists and technologists are given a full share of responsibility, and a good career. It is significant, I 177 would say, that the Ministry of Aviation—which, as I say, employs about 3,000 scientists—has suffered a net loss in the last three years of only four scientists; admittedly, they were of good quality, but that is a very small proportion in relation to the total employed. One of the reasons for this is that they have good facilities, exciting projects of work, and a fine and varied career in which merit can reap its proper reward.
I suggest that, taken as a whole, these arrangements are to be preferred to any suggestion that the Opposition may bring forward for a solitary scientific overlord. My hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North brought out the dangers inherent in that situation. [Interruption.] The intervention of the hon. Member for Coventry, East shows, once again, that he has misunderstood the position. An overlord has not been created—as my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North has said.
Our solution is based on co-ordination, but not upon control, the direct central control, that is fundamental to Socialist proposals. I suggest that the hon. Member reads C. P. Snow on Science and Government. He is very good on the dangers of the solitary scientific overlord. But no doubt a Ministry of Research and Technology appeals to an Opposition that is led by a man who says quite definitely, "We must harness science to Socialism"—[Interruption.] But that only emphasises the danger.
I would have wished that we could have had more elucidation of what the Opposition really wanted. We have had references to the debate of 15th July—that was the debate in which the hon. Member for Coventry, East said, "I cannot believe one man can be in control of all education and of science"—
§ Mr, Rippon
I am sorry—[Interruption.] On 15th July, the hon. Member contemplated that the most sensible thing to do would be to have one Minister of higher education, science and research, whilst it is today that he has said the other thing. But, of course, that was all before he heard
§ what the Leader of the Opposition had to say.
§ We have heard—and my right hon. and learned Friend rehearsed this in detail—how the hon. Member, who claims to speak for the Labour Party on these matters, argued first for one Minister and then for two, but two with different titles and functions from those suggested by his Leader, and how on 8th February he argued for three Ministers and how even today he has used a new title, a Minister of Industry and Technology.
§ The Government have tried to reconcile the principles of concentration and of diffusion, but the Opposition have only produced an amalgam of dissipation and confusion. It is not surprising that they are muddled. They have only recently discovered that a scientific and technological revolution has been going on. In the last ten years only a handful of hon. Members opposite have shown any interest at all in scientific and technical research, whether pure research, space research, aviation, electronics or anything else.
§ George Chetwynd and Sir Geoffrey de Freitas were notable exceptions, but they are not here. Like Lord Robens, Kenneth Younger and Hilary Marquand they are part of the steady "brain drain" from the benches opposite. It is a pity for the country that the Opposition have woken up to these great issues only to bring them into the cockpit of party politics. But they had better be careful how they go about it. The Government's record shows that we have done more for science than any Administration in the history of this country. We are doing it by giving the scientists a proper place in a condition of freedom. But the Opposition see science only as an extension, and an instrument, of their political philosophy.
§ I cannot believe that this Committee or the country will wish to follow the dangerous paths which they have shown to the nation.
§ Question put:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 211, Noes 278.181
|Division No. 28.]||AYES||[9.58 p.m.|
|Ainsley, William||Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Barnett, Guy|
|Albu, Austen||Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bacon, Miss Alice||Beaney, Alan|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Healey, Denis||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Bence, Cyril||Henderson, Rt.Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)||Peart, Frederick|
|Benn, Anthony Wedgwood||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Pentland, Norman|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hilton, A. V.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Blyton, William||Holman, Percy||Probert, Arthur|
|Boardman, H.||Holt, Arthur||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Houghton, Douglas||Randall, Harry|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S.W.)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Rankin, John|
|Bowles, Frank||Howie, W. (Luton)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Boyden, James||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Reid, William|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hunter, A, E.||Rhodes, H.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Callaghan, James||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Janner, Sir Barnett||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Chapman, Donald||Jeger, George||Ross, William|
|Cliffe, Michael||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Collick, Percy||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Silkin, John|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones,Rt.Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Crosland, Anthony||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Kelley, Richard||Small, William|
|Darling, George||Kenyon, Clifford||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lawson, George||Snow, Julian|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Ledger, Ron||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Dempsey, James||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Steele, Thomas|
|Dodds, Norman||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Doig, Peter||Lipton, Marcus||Stonehouse, John|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Lubbock, Eric||Stones, William|
|Driberg, Tom||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stross,SirBarnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley)||McBride, N.||Swain, Thomas|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||MacColl, James||Swingler, Stephen|
|Edelman, Maurice||McLeavy, Frank||Symonds, J. B.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Taverne, D.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Manuel, Archie||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Evans, Albert||Mapp, Charles||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Marsh, Richard||Thornton, Ernest|
|Finch, Harold||Mason, Roy||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Fitch, Alan||Mayhew, Christopher||Tomney, Frank|
|Fletcher, Eric||Millan, Bruce||Wade, Donald|
|Foley, Maurice||Milne, Edward||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Mitchison, G. R.||Warbey, William|
|Forman, J. C.||Monslow, Walter||Weitzman, David|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moody, A. S.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Morris, John||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Ginsburg, David||Moyle, Arthur||Whitlock, William|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mulley, Frederick||Wigg, George|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Neal, Harold||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Grey, Charles||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Willey, Frederick|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||O'Malley, B. K.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Oram, A. E.||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Oswald, Thomas||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Owen, Will||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Gunter, Ray||Padley, W. E.||Woof, Robert|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Paget, R, T.||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Hannan, William||Pargiter, G. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Harper, Joseph||Parker, John||Mr. Charles A. Howell and Mr. McCann.|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Hayman, F. H.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Box, Donald|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John|
|Allason, James||Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Bidgood, John C.||Braine, Bernard|
|Anderson, D. C.||Biffen, John||Brewis, John|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Biggs-Davison, John||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. SirWalter|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Bingham, R. M.||Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Brown, Alan (Tottenham)|
|Barber, Anthony||Bishop, Sir Patrick||Browne, Percy (Torrington)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Black, Sir Cyril||Bryan, Paul|
|Barter, John||Bossom, Hon. Clive||Buck, Antony|
|Batsford, Brian||Bourne-Arton, A.||Bullard, Denys|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Burden, F. A.||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hughes-Young, Michael||Pym, Francis|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Carr, Rt. Hon. Robert (Mitcham)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Ramsden, James|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Iremonger, T. L.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. Sir Peter|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Chataway, Christopher||Jackson, John||Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Jennings, J. C.||Renton, Rt. Hon. David|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence(Portsmth, W.)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Cole, Norman||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey|
|Cooke, Robert||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Cooper, A. E.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Cordle, John||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Costain, A. P.||Kimball, Marcus||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan|
|Coulson, Michael||Kirk, Peter||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Kitson, Timothy||Seymour, Leslie|
|Crawley, Aidan||Lagden, Godfrey||Shaw, M.|
|Critchley, Julian||Lambton, Viscount||Shepherd, William|
|Crowder, F, P.||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Curran, Charles||Lindsay, Sir Martin||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Dance, James||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Speir, Rupert|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lloyd,Rt.Hn. Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)||Stainton, Keith|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Longbottom, Charles||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Longden, Gilbert||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Doughty, Charles||Loveys, Walter H.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|du Cann, Edward||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Stodart, J. A.|
|Duthie, Sir William (Banff)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||MacArthur, Ian||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Elliott,R.W.(Newc'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||McLaren, Martin||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Maclean, SirFitzroy (Bute&N.Ayrs)||Talbot, John E.|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Farr, John||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McMaster, Stanley R.||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Forrest, George||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)|
|Foster, Sir John||Maddan, Martin||Teeling, Sir William|
|Fraser,Rt.Hn. Hugh (Stafford&Stone)||Maitland, Sir John||Temple, John M.|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Freeth, Denzil||Marshall, Sir Douglas||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Gammans, Lady||Marten, Neil||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Gardner, Edward||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Mawby, Ray||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J,||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Godber, Rt. Hon. J. B.||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Goodhart, Philip||Mills, Stratton||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Gough, Frederick||Miscampbell, Norman||Turner, Colin|
|Gower, Raymond||Montgomery, Fergus||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Green, Alan||Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Grosvenor, Lord Robert||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Gurden, Harold||Morgan, William||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Morrison, John||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Neave, Airey||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Walder, David|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Walker, Peter|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Wall, Patrick|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Hastings, Stephen||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Webster, David|
|Hay, John||Orr-Ewing, Sir Charles||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hendry, Forbes||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Hiley, Joseph||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Wise, A. R.|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Partridge, E.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Peel, John||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Hocking, Philip N.||Percival, Ian||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Quintin||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Holland, Philip||Pitt, Dame Edith||Woollam, John|
|Hollingworth, John||Pounder, Rafton||Worsley, Marcus|
|Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hopkins, Alan||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Mr. Chichester-Clark and Mr. Finlay|
|Hornby, R. P.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ It being after Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.