HC Deb 07 December 1965 vol 722 cc220-1
16. Mr. Rose

asked the Minister of Technology whether, in view of the high turnover of staff and pace of work on Hovercraft development, he is satisfied with the management of this work; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Cousins

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to Hovercraft Development Ltd., the subsidiary company of N.R.D.C. The management of this is the responsibility of the company and the Corporation. I understand that they intend to maintain the level of development work generally and to expand it in some particulars, and for this purpose they are actively seeking to replace recent losses of staff.

Mr. Rose

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Hovercraft and Hovertrain may form some of the major transport facilities in the future? Will he ensure that there is no slackening of development and that adequate direction of design and construct on work is being provided? Will he also consider setting up a State-owned company to buy and operate this means of travel to ensure that we can cope with foreign competition?

Mr. Cousins

Again, I must suggest that the last part of that supplementary should represent a Question in its own right, and perhaps my hon. Friend will put one down. It is certainly not a matter which one can answer in reply to a supplementary. On the question of whether we should set up a rival company, I am already on record as saying that where bodies of this kind fail the nation I would have no hesitation in bringing the matter before the. House, but that is an entirely different question. On the other part of my hon. Friend's supplementary, I am also on record as being in support of the hover-type movement itself and saying that we should he ready to give what aid is needed.