HC Deb 17 December 1970 vol 808 cc1551-3
19. Mr. J. H. Osborn

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is now the annual expenditure, both capital and current, authorised by Her Majesty's Government either directly through government research establishments, through the Science Research Council, from universities and colleges, respectively, and in total on high-energy physics; and what plans she has for limiting this expenditure in order to play a full part in the 300 Gev C.E.R.N. programme.

Mrs. Thatcher

The Science Research Council's expenditure on high-energy physics in 1970–71 will be about £20m., including the subscription to C.E.R.N. Expenditure by universities and colleges will be about £800,000.

To meet the 300 GeV commitment the Science Research Council proposes to make reductions in the high-energy physics programme, principally at the two national nuclear physics laboratories.

Mr. Osborn

I welcome my right hon. Friend's original decision to take part in the C.E.R.N. programme, but can she indicate what the effect of these reductions will be, because all scientists, here and in Europe, welcome the idea that the major programme should now be started?

Mrs. Thatcher

The effect of the reductions will be that the programmes at Rutherford and Daresbury will probably be reduced.

Mr. Alan Williams

Will the right hon. Lady tell us what effect she expects the C.E.R.N. project will have on the employment of scientists in this country, and will she give a detailed analysis of cuts in expenditure programmes in other science areas which have been made in order to allow the C.E.R.N. programme project to go forward, so that we can assess the benefits of C.E.R.N. against costs elsewhere?

Mrs. Thatcher

I cannot give details of other projects yet. It will be a matter for the Science Research Council. As to the other part of the hon. Member's supplementary question, I do not think that there will be any substantial difference in the employment of scientists in this country. There will still need to be preparatory experiments to go to C.E.R.N.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

I welcomed my right hon. Friend's answer to me on this subject last week, but may I particularly ask what percentage of the total expenditure of the S.R.C. will now be devoted to high-energy physics?

Mrs. Thatcher

I cannot give a specific percentage, but the proportion to be devoted to high-energy physics is expected to be reduced.