Skip to main content

Optical And Scientific Instruments

Volume 155: debated on Monday 26 June 1922

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his atten- tion has been called to the statement made by Major A. G. Church, D.S.O., general secretary of the National Union of Scientific Workers, before the Optical and Scientific Committee under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, to the effect that the operation of the Safeguarding of Industries Act and the consequent difficulties placed in the way of an adequate supply of glass vessels and instruments to hospitals and medical schools have greatly retarded scientific research; whether he is aware that in some cases research in certain branches has been abandoned owing to the vastly increased cost; and what steps he proposes to take in order to obviate this threatened arrest of medical and scientific progress?

I have seen the statement in question, which appears to be based on the assumption that all difficulties of the kinds mentioned are due to the operation of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, and takes no account of the change in the cost of all commodities, and also in industrial conditions in Germany which have resulted in abnormal delay in delivery and a lower standard of quality than prevailed pre-War. I am satisfied that British manufacturers are making every effort to improve the quality and reduce the cost of their products, and sympathetic cooperation with them on the part of men of science will expedite that process and be to the advantage of all concerned.

Are the research workers to be content to wait until these materials and instruments are satisfactorily produced in this country?

I have already said in my answer that I do not think it is fair to attribute the whole of these results to the operation of the Act.