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Development Of Inventions Bill

Volume 523: debated on Monday 1 February 1954

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Considered in Committee.

[Sir CHARLES MACANDREW in the Chair]

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2.—(Functions of Corporation RELATING TO RESEARCH.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Parliamentary Secretary will remember that when we discussed the Bill on Second Reading, my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) raised questions relating to Clause 2 (2). Perhaps he will be kind enough to give me some interpretation of the words "practical requirements" and "brought to the knowledge of the Corporation." I hope the latter words do not exclude the possibility of the Corporation's bringing a matter to its own knowledge through its staff encountering points which they consider come within the subsection. I should be grateful for an explanation.

Under Clause 2 (2) the industry must have "practical requirements" but no special method is laid down by which these must come to the knowledge of the Corporation. It is not intended by the Measure to give the Corporation general powers to undertake surveys or investigations to discover the practical needs of industry. That can best be done by industry itself, although perhaps with the help and encouragement of Departments, and possibly with the help and at the suggestion of the Corporation.

Once such an investigation has established that an industry would benefit—if, for example, a machine or a piece of plant would be capable of carrying out certain specified operations and there was a reasonable prospect of producing such a machine or plant—the powers to be given to the Corporation will enable them to step in and to take the responsibility for getting the research done. I believe that that is what right hon. Gentlemen had in mind, and I hope that with that explanation they will be content with the Clause.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 3 and 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed.