20. Mr. Gresham Cooke
asked the Minister of Technology what is the total value of public sector purchases of Hovercraft at the most recent convenient date; and what is the estimated value of similar public sector purchases during the current year.
Mr. Gresham Cooke
In view of the recent naval trials of Hovercraft in Borneo, has the hon. Gentleman or his right hon. Friend had discussions with the Ministry of Defence about taking up Hovercraft for defence purposes?
29. Mr. Edward M. Taylor
asked the Minister of Technology what discussions he has had with overseas organisations developing the Hovertrain; and what consideration has been given to collaborating with such organisations.
Would not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that all forms of public transport in this country are facing very serious problems and that there is a need for this country to follow the initiative of France in trying to promote a new form of public transport like this?
§ 33. Mr. McMaster
asked the Minister of Technology what plans he has for developing the manufacture of Hovercraft.
§ Mr. Marsh
The development and manufacture of Hovercraft for civil use is primarily the responsibility of the industry, which will continue to have the co-operation of the National Research Development Corporation. Development 1097 for military use is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation.
§ Mr. McMaster
Will the Parliamentary Secretary look into the possibility of producing this craft in Northern Ireland where some 4,000 skilled aircraft engineers are faced with unemployment over the next 12 months as a result of the Government's policies?
Mr. Gresham Cooke
Could not the Navy be allowed to buy a few Hovercraft in place of aircraft carriers?
§ Mr. Grimond
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this is one of the most promising adventures in British industry? Is his Ministry assisting at any rate in experimenting with the existing Hovercraft to find what possible uses there are for it, because it is one of the great break-throughs by British industry and is exactly the sort of thing the Government should be backing?