asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether there is any question of closing down the aerodynamic Department of the National Physical Laboratory; and, if so, whether he will reconsider this matter, in view of the services rendered by this Department to the Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and to the aviation industry?
No specific proposals for the provision of funds for the maintenance of the aerodynamics Department at the National Physical Laboratory after the close of the current financial year have at present reached the Treasury. Any such proposals in regard to public Estimates for 1922–3 must obviously be considered in view of the general financial position and the need for drastic reductions of public expenditure even in the case of prima facie very desirable public services. But. I am aware of the importance attached in certain quarters to the work of the Department in question, and the matter will be fully considered before the detailed Estimates of the Departments concerned for the coming financial year are finally determined.
Is it not a fact that this Department is the only provision made by the State for the scientific investigation of aerodynamic problems, and is not the cost a minor matter in comparison with the importance of the work which is performed?
I believe that the suggestion contained in the first part of my hon. Friend's question is quite accurate.