HC Deb 10 November 1966 vol 735 c1508
4. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in the light of the first annual report of the Science Research Council, he will introduce a five-year rolling plan for science research finance, with the assurance of money to cover the first three years, after an annual declaration of intent.

Mr. Crosland

In changing economic circumstances there can never be an absolute assurance of funds for a long period ahead, but I hope that, with the help of the Council for Scientific Policy, it may soon be possible to reach decisions on allocations for a three year period.

Mr. Dalyell

Would the Secretary of State agree that industry without research is rather like a cut flower without its roots, and that this constitutes a strong argument for research going to areas like Livingston New Town, where there is a 9.2 per cent. unemployment rate?

Mr. Crosland

I am not myself a horticulturist and I would not like to comment on the particular point about Livingston; but I think I agree with what is implied, in terms of general policy, by my hon. Friend's Question.

Sir E. Boyle

Without going too far into metaphor, would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that an approach on the lines of this question would command pretty general assent in the House? Is it not absurd to pretend to be able to forecast demand for knitwear in 1970 while not having a rolling plan of this kind for scientific research expenditure?

Mr. Crosland

Knitwear must be a question for one of my right hon. Friends, but I am not sure which one. As to the rolling plan, as I said in my original Answer, I hope we shall be able to get some form of three year look at any rate. I must say, as the right hon. Gentleman referred to the National Plan, this will be much better than anything done by the Tory Government.