HC Deb 15 February 1956 vol 548 cc2362-3
46. Mr. Warbey

asked the Lord Privy Seal the Government's policy regarding the utilisation by private firms of technical information on the industrial applications of nuclear power obtained from persons or establishments under the control of the Atomic Energy Authority.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The Atomic Energy Authority informs me that it is its policy to encourage access by private firms to technical information in the industrial application of nuclear power in order that industry may participate more fully in these important new developments. Steps are taken to ensure that firms are not enabled to acquire exclusive rights on the basis of information supplied by the Atomic Energy Authority.

Mr. Warbey

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that private firms, such as Rolls-Royce, are now picking the brains and expertise of men who have been employed for many years in public establishments such as Harwell? In the light of the fresh announcement today by A.E.I. and Mitchell Engineering Ltd., will the right hon. Gentleman say what is the Government's policy regarding the private exploitation of information and facilities created by public enterprise upon which a great deal of public money has been spent?

Mr. Butler

Yes, I will investigate the particular cases to which the hon. Member refers. Apart from that, I have stated what is the broad line of Government policy.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Is my right hon. Friend aware mat the announcement today that the Atomic Energy Authority and private enterprise are collaborating closely on the construction of new plant will give the utmost satisfaction?

Mr. G. R. Strauss

In view of the fact that the announcement today that A.E.I, is to put up a reactor at Aldermaston worked with fissile material supplied by the Atomic Energy Authority denotes a new phase in the relationship between the State and private industry, does not the right hon. Gentleman think it would be most desirable that we should know in greater detail than has already been stated what is the Government's policy about that relationship and what it is to be?

Mr. Butler

I have stated the lines of Government policy in the Answer which I gave. On the particular issues perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would put down particular Questions.

Mr. Strauss

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the question of issuing a White Paper on the subject?

Mr. Butler

I will discuss the question of letting the House have the maximum information which is in the public interest with my noble Friend, whose responsibility for administration it is, on his early return to this country.