HC Deb 14 November 1967 vol 754 cc202-4
18. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Technology what is the total amount spent on research by his Department; how much of this is spent in Scotland; and what plans he has for increasing that proportion.

Dr. Bray

In 1966–67 the Department paid out a total of £238 million for research and development in industry and within its own establishments. Of this total £7.6 million was spent in Scotland. An additional £51 million was paid out to other bodies, but it is not possible to identify readily what proportion of this was spent in Scotland. The Government's policy is to place as many research and development contracts as possible in Development Areas, including Scotland.

Mr. Hamilton

Does my hon. Friend not recognise that the first part of that Answer does not now bear out the second part? What additional steps is he taking to channel much more of this expenditure into development areas than has hitherto been the case?

Dr. Bray

I am sure my hon. Friend will not doubt the very vigorous interest taken by the Minister and this Department on this matter. We are very much constrained by the location of the big spending aircraft companies and establishments, which undertake the bulk of development work. My right hon. Friend has given instructions to the Department not merely to consider but actively to seek research and development projects in all development areas.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Do not those figures show that Scotland, with one-tenth of the population, gets only 3 per cent. of the available money? Are any further specific projects coming forward in order to change this proportion?

Dr. Bray

No, I cannot give any information on specific projects, obviously. Of the development areas Scotland has more than its share in new developing productivity services, automation centres, and so on. The hon. Member will be aware that a major part of spending in Scotland is on the National Engineering Laboratory, and there is no such institution in the North-East. He will be aware that hon. Members from the North-East are equally concerned with this question.

Mr. Maclennan

Will the Minister bear in mind that if the Department is considering setting up a research centre for oceanography, Dounreay and the experimental reactor establishment would be a suitable location for such a development?

Dr. Bray

I can assure my hon. Friend that no project, however small, passes by, and we have a very close look indeed as to the developments which can be located in Scotland or any other development area.

23. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Minister of Technology what is the approximate amount spent in Government research projects; and what estimate he has made of the amount spent by industrial research associations.

Dr. Bray

Total expenditure on Research and Development by Ministry of Technology/Ministry of Aviation in 1966–67 was £289 million of which £53 million was spent in the combined Departments' establishments. Expenditure by industrial research associations, during their respective financial years ending in 1966, was £13.2 million. Government grants to the research associations in the period totalled £3.2 million.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Will the hon. Gentleman agree in general that better use is made of our resources through industrial research associations, and will he look with greater sympathy at any projects put to him so that additional use may be made of them?

Dr. Bray

Research associations play an important part in the country's research. We keep in close touch with them and are investigating new schemes with them constantly.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Can my hon. Friend say how much of this money is spent on research designed to increase national productivity and exports, especially in Scotland and with particular reference to Dounreay?

Dr. Bray

All of it.