HC Deb 18 July 1961 vol 644 c1051
35. Mr. D. Jones

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science if he is aware of the contribution the computer machine would make to the prosperity of British industry; and what research he is undertaking in order to secure the maximum benefits from an increase in the scale of its general use.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

Yes, Sir, I am fully aware of the variety and importance of the contributions which computer techniques can make to the prosperity of British industry. Government agencies are supporting a great deal of research and development in this field and encouraging its application. Support is also being given to the British Conference on Automation and Computation, one of whose aims is to extend the use of these techniques throughout industry.

Mr. Jones

I cannot say that these efforts are in any way successful, and I wish to add—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ask a question."] I am coming to my supplementary question. In the meantime, I hope that hon. Members who interrupt me appreciate the time that they are wasting. The point is that this makes a tremendous contribution—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ask a question."] I should like to ask the Minister, as a supplementary question, how many meetings he has had with British industry in order that the benefits of this machine may be made known, for the truth is—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Question Time is not the time for giving information, as I must remind the hon. Member.

Mr. Jones

Is the Minister aware that this machine is under-employed?

Mr. Freeth

The National Physical Laboratory, which is one of the stations of the D.S.I.R., provides an advisory service to industry and assists individual firms with programming problems and the application of computer techniques. In its research into the application of computers it has paid particular attention to a number of industries in which computer techniques, we believe, can be of benefit.