HC Deb 03 November 1966 vol 735 cc647-8
29. Mr. Patrick Jenkin

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will authorise the science and other research councils, when making grants to university and other institutions for research projects, to include provision for any additional secretarial services required by the relevant institution in connection with the project.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

The research councils are already prepared to consider applications for grant for such provision in those cases where they consider it reasonable and where it is essential for the successful prosecution of the project concerned. No further authority from my right hon. Friend is needed.

Mr. Jenkin

But will not the hon. Gentleman recognise that this is, not a question of powers, but a question of practice? Will not he instruct the science research and other research councils to follow the practice of the Medical Research Council and automatically grant sufficient provision to enable the employment of secretaries in support of the projects for which they give grants in aid?

Mr. Roberts

The award of grants is entirely within the discretion of research councils, including the Medical Research Council. They have machinery for very carefully vetting these proposals. My right hon. Friend would not wish to intervene. However, if the hon. Gentleman has details of any case which he thinks should be brought to the notice of any council, we shall be glad to receive it.

Mrs. Kerr

On a point of order. May I point out that the apparatus, as far as hearing in this part of the House is concerned, is very bad indeed. May I ask that you, Mr. Speaker, do something to improve it, please?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Lady's complaint will be noted by those concerned.