asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will take steps to encourage the distributive trades to set up a research association by contributing towards the cost on the same basis as those research associations which are partly financed by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
No, Sir. It is for the distributive trades themselves to propose methods for meeting their own needs in scientific research and in doing so to take account of the facilities open to them, both under the D.S.I.R. scheme for the establishment of research associations and under the Industrial Organisation and Development Act, 1947, as regards the products of an industry for which a development council may be set up.
Is not my right hon. Friend aware that the distributive trades in this country have had several centuries in which to start some research into the costs of distribution and that they have not done so yet? Does he not think that the cost of living of this country is due to some extent to the high costs of distribution, and is it not time that we instituted some research into it?
The point must be faced that it is not quite so easy for the distributive trades to go in for research as for productive industry to do so, but I would commend my hon. Friend's point to the consideration of the distributive trades and we will see what the result is. We can then consider it in the light of that result.
Is it not the case that the distributive trades are engaged in research every hour of every day and require to set up no specialist committee to inquire into it?