HC Deb 10 November 1966 vol 735 cc1528-9
38. Mr. Hordern

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made in carrying out the recommendations of the Flowers Committee; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Crosland

The Computer Board has now been established under the chairmanship of Professor Flowers. The universities with KDF9 computers have ordered up-graded machines, and in a number of cases these have been installed and are working. The programme allocation of £3 million for 1966–67 has been almost entirely committed and some £2 million of the allocation for 1967–68 has been taken up. The Computer Board is discussing with the universities the programme for the years ahead, the principles which should govern the proposed regional centres, and the provision of adequate software for the computers now being installed in universities.

Mr. Hordern

Is the right hon Gentleman aware that the Flowers Committee reported that if its recommendations were not carried out in precise form, there would be very serious consequences for the future of scientific research and the computer industry in Britain? Will he therefore give an undertaking to carry out the recommendations of the Flowers Committee in five years and not six as he has suggested?

Mr. Crosland

I cannot give that undertaking in that form. The best undertaking that the Flowers Committee recommendations will be substantially carried out is shown by the fact that Professor Flowers himself is now Chairman of the Computer Board.