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Development Projects, Scotland

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he intends taking to increase development projects by the National Research and Development Corporation in Scotland.

My right hon. Friend has already asked the Corporation to bear the needs of Scotland in mind when placing contracts. The Corporation sends the Scottish Council each week a list of the inventions which it is making available for commercial licensing.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in Appendix 2 of the Report of the National Research and Development Corporation, thirty-five projects are reviewed, but that only one of them is in Scotland? Is it not disgraceful that a Government Department should finance development and research in thirty-five projects and that all but one of them should be in England when the need in Scotland is so great?

The difficulty is that the choice of firms with which to place contracts for development is liable to be restricted to a small number particularly interested in this kind of work. The choice is not wide open, nor can the Corporation itself set up firms to develop the various inventions.

According to the list, the majority of these projects are in university institutions and technical colleges. There are plenty of universities and technical colleges in Scotland, yet only one project is in Scotland—in Glasgow—and the rest are in the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London and at other universities in the South.

I am quite certain that the Corporation will take note of what the hon. Member has said. I have said that we have drawn the attention of the Corporation to the needs of Scotland in this respect.