§ 2.45 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have in the interests of industrialists and practitioners:
- (1) to prevent further dispersal of departments of the Patent Office
- (2) to concentrate all departments of the Patent Office under one roof.]
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, BOARD OF TRADE (LORD RHODES)
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government are anxious that there should not be any further separation of main Departments of the Patent Office and that further growth in the work of the office should not result in an increase in the number of separate buildings. It is the intention to provide a new building for the headquarters of the Patent Office as soon as possible, and the best location for this is under examination.
§ LORD CAWLEY
My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for his Answer, may I ask whether the South Bank site is now under consideration? I understood in the past that this was fixed for the new Patent Office. Am I to understand that this is not so?
§ LORD RHODES
My Lords, that is quite true. The suggestion made in 1951 that the new Patent Office should be on the South Bank is still under review. There are one or two, or perhaps more, points which need consideration in connection with it: the Government's policy of restricting new office building in London, the importance of moving offices from Central London wherever possible, the need to maintain the efficiency of the office, which I think the noble Lord had in mind, and the interests of those who work closely with it.
§ LORD DOUGLAS OF BARLOCH
My Lords, may I ask my noble friend in the consideration of this matter to bear in mind that for many years past the location of offices of patent agents and of solicitors who do work in the Patent Office has been arranged to suit the present situation of the office, and if it is moved to any considerable distance it will cause great inconvenience and dislocation of work and expense?
§ LORD RHODES
I think there is no doubt about it. There is a lot of good sense in what the noble Lord has said, and that is why I said that one of the considerations was that the interests of those who work closely with it should be considered.
§ LORD CAWLEY
My Lords, has the noble Lord considered building upwards on the present Patent Office site?
§ LORD BROWN
My Lords, will the noble Lord consider that the arguments about convenience which are consistently put forward against any suggestion to take various establishments away from London can be repeated for any such move; and will attempts be made to try to put that consideration as far as possible on one side in the interest of moving some of these establishments to the North?