HC Deb 04 February 1974 vol 868 cc876-7
28. Mr. Stanbrook

asked the Minister for Energy whether he will seek to provide Government assistance for the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia with a view to making use of its services within the Government's energy resources programme.

Mr. Emery

There are no present plans for providing direct financial assistance to the Climatic Research Unit. The Natural Environment Research Council provides finance for fundamental research in the atmospheric sciences, while the funding of basic services for university research is the concern of the university and the University Grants Committee.

Mr. Stanbrook

Is my hon. Friend aware that the unit has already done a lot of useful work, that at the moment its funds are being provided from private sources which are nearly exhausted, and that it could make a great contribution to the Government's energy resources programme?

Mr. Emery

Yes, Sir. My officials are already in contact with Professor Lamb at the University of East Anglia, and we have invited him to discussions with the Department.

Mr. Dalyell

How do these officials arrive at any meaningful decision in the absence of any kind of chief scientist's organisation?

Mr. Emery

I think that the hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. The chief scientist's organisation existed within the Department of Trade and Industry and is still being used by many of the people who have been carrying on this work with the DTI. My hon. Friend has made quite clear that we are considering the position of a separate organisation for the Department of Energy as a matter of urgency.

Mr. Tom King

Is my hon. Friend aware that one of the most futile efforts to discredit the Government's imposition of the three-day week is the lunatic suggestion by certain Members, including the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher), that the Government should have based their forecasts and plans on the long-range weather forecasts? Will he confirm and reassure the country that the Government do no such thing, but found their forecasts on much sounder bases?

Mr. Emery

Yes, Sir.