Tory science policy too market-driven

October 4, 1996

Huw Richards reports from the Labour party conference in Blackpool.

The Labour conference endorsed an attack on the privatisation and erosion of British public sector science.

A composite resolution proposed by the Manufacturing, Science and Finance trade union denounced the Government's "dogmatic obsession" with privatisation, leading to the loss to the public sector of institutions like the Transport Research Laboratory and the Laboratory of the Government Chemist. "Scientific advances of great economic importance often arise from fundamental research programmes not oriented to specific commercial objectives."

It condemned "continuing cuts in the funding of high-quality fundamental research in universities". Presenting the resolution, John Chowcat of MSF pointed to scientists suffering from unpredictable, hand-to-mouth funding, with research teams broken up and expertise lost, often to better resourced operations abroad.

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