HC Deb 09 February 1959 vol 599 cc849-50
36. Mrs. McLaughlin

asked the Minister of Supply if he will take steps to increase the Government funds available for the development of the Short S.C.I. vertical take-off aircraft.

The Minister of Supply (Mr. Aubrey Jones)

Work on this research project has been proceeding satisfactorily and an increase in funds has been provided.

Mrs. McLaughlin

Whilst thanking my right hon. Friend for letting us know that an increase in funds has been provided, may I ask whether he is fully aware of the importance of research into an aircraft such as this to the whole of the British aircraft industry? Will my right hon. Friend be able to see that funds, as far as necessary, will be provided for this project which we believe has a great lead over the same type of project in other countries?

Mr. Jones

The increase of funds made available for this project itself indicates our awareness of its importance.

Mr. G. Brown

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what is the amount of the increase in funds and how much extra the Government are putting into this project? In view of the possible disappearance of bases overseas which we have hitherto counted upon and the difficulties of over-flying from home bases to the Middle East, does not the right hon. Gentleman regard this as an extremely important business?

Mr. Jones

Yes, Sir, I regard this as an important matter, but as the right hon. Gentleman knows full well, it is not customary to give details of the amount of money devoted to particular pieces of research.

Mr. Brown

But surely, Mr. Speaker, the amount of money which we are devoting has to be voted by the House? Ought we not to be told what it is being voted for and how much it is?

Mr. Jones

Yes, Sir, the amount m the broad sense.