§ Mr. Beith
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he decided not to accept the recommendations of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils on the Social Science Research Council's share of the 1982–83 science budget; and whether he will postpone the implementation of his decision on the funding of the Social Science Research Council until after Lord Rothschild has reported.
Mr. William Shelton"
I have been asked to reply.
My right hon. Friend decided to divert £l.1 million of the allocation recommended for the SSRC to the other research councils and the Royal Society in order to reflect his view that national priorities would be better met by some increase in support for the natural sciences, particularly in the universities. This remains his decision for 1982–83 subject to approval by Parliament of the Estimates. The position for later years will be considered in the light of Lord Rothschild's report and of the advice that the ABRC will be giving in due course.