HC Deb 25 October 1955 vol 545 cc13-4W
Sir H. Linstead

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what financial provision is being made for participation by the United Kingdom in the proposed International Geophysical Year.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The Royal Society have informed me of the discussions in which they have taken part under the auspices of the International Council of Scientific Unions on this subject. It is proposed that there should be an International Geophysical Year in 1957–58 in the course of which simultaneous records of a wide variety of meteorological and other phenomena would be made in many parts of the world. The Government have agreed in principle that the United Kingdom should participate in this major international scientific effort. Part of the cost of United Kingdom participation will be borne on the votes of Government Departments. The rest will be met by a grant-in-aid which it is proposed to make to the Royal Society for this purpose. Most of the expenditure will fall in the financial year 1956–57. Particular attention is being paid in the International Geophysical Year to a study of the Antarctic Continent, and as part of this programme the United Kingdom has undertaken to establish a scientific station at Vahsel Bay. The establishment and administration of this station will be undertaken by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey on behalf of the Royal Society, who will be responsible for the scientific programme. It will be necessary to establish this station during the coming Antarctic summer months and preparatory expenditure of about £120,000 will be incurred during the current financial year. A Supplementary Estimate will be presented in due course. Until this can be done any necessary expenditure will be met from the Civil Contingencies Fund. An advance of £20,000 was made for this purpose in August.