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Machine Tool Industry, Scotland

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science to what extent he is supporting scientific research in the machine tool industry in Scotland.

The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research supports the Machine Tool Industry Research Association and the Production Engineering Research Association, both of which carry out research in this field and have Scottish members. Research of direct value to the machine tool industry in Scotland is carried out at the National Engineering Laboratory, East Kilbride, and also in the National Physical Laboratory. In addition, a research grant on the mechanics of metal cutting has been made to Glasgow University.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the light engineering industry in increasingly having to look abroad, to Italy, France, Germany and the United States, for machine tools because of the shortage and lack of modern machine tools in this country? Will he and his Department take more energetic steps to see that there is more scientific research and development on machine tools, not only in Scotland, but in the United Kingdom as a whole?

I fully agree with the hon. Member that more research and development are needed in future than has been the case in the past in this industry. However, we have only recently set up the Machine Tool Industry Research Association and we have very great hopes of it.