HC Deb 19 July 1960 vol 627 c223
10. Mr. F. Noel-Baker

asked the President of the Board of Trade what are Her Majesty's Government's plans for the future commercial development of Hovercraft for carrying passengers and freight, respectively.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. John Rodgers)

The commercial development of Hovercraft is the responsibility of Hovercraft Development Ltd. This Company, which is financed by the National Research and Development Corporation under the Development of Inventions Act, 1948, has so far issued two statements about its plans for collaboration with industry.

Mr. Noel-Baker

That answer tells us very little indeed. Does not the hon. Gentleman appreciate that there are large numbers of the general public and a considerable number of my own constituents being asked to manufacture the machines who really want to know whether the Government think that it has a future or not as a means of transportation? Can the hon. Gentleman say whether at any stage the Government will give their views about the future or otherwise of the Hovercraft?

Mr. Rodgers

The fact that Hovercraft Development Limited recently announced arrangements with Vickers and Westland to produce operational prototypes which will be larger and more advanced than the existing S.R.N.1, which was demonstrated on the river outside the House, shows that it thinks that there is a commercial future for this vehicle.