HC Deb 01 December 1964 vol 703 cc228-30
Q3. Mr. Stratton Mills

asked the Prime Minister what proposals he has for the establishment of new industries by public enterprise or in partnership with private industry to produce new scientific discoveries.

The Prime Minister

The Government will be keeping this matter under continuous and urgent study, and will inform Parliament of specific proposals as occasion arises.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Does the Prime Minister recognise that those words are from his own party's election manifesto? Is this yet another tip of an iceberg, the iceberg of public ownership? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that this kind of Measure will do anything to encourage confidence in either sterling or Her Majesty's Government?

The Prime Minister

I recognise the words; I wrote them myself. I am sure that if the hon. Gentleman considers this, he will realise that whether these new industries or units are set up in partnership with private industry or in public enterprise, in so far as they will be new productive units which did not exist before, not transferred from private ownership, they will not only give employment to areas which need employment, but will also be good for making a much bigger contribution to our export drive.

Mr. William Hamilton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is an establishment in Glenrothes in Fife which is ready for public take-over, namely, a set of piggeries and factories and refrigerator plant?

The Prime Minister

I am not sure that that is an industry dependent on new scientific discoveries.

Mr. Orme

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind that, particularly in the machine tool industry and industries such as that, sections of public ownership would be exceedingly welcome? Is he aware that we are looking forward to his introducing such legislation in the near future?

The Prime Minister

This Question relates not to a take-over of existing firms, but to the creation of new industries, whether under public enterprise or in partnership with private industry, based on new scientific discoveries. As I indicated in my statement last Thursday, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Technology is taking a special interest in the machine tool industry in view of the anxieties, on both sides of the House, about the growing volume of imports of machine tools and the need to improve that industry's export record.