HC Deb 30 November 1966 vol 737 cc440-2
24. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he has yet taken action on the recommendation of the Plowden Committee that more stress should be put on research which contributes to the more modest aircraft and weapons that the industry is likely to embark on in the future and on civil aircraft.

Mr. Mulley

Yes, Sir. Recent examples of this trend are the reduction in the advanced area of hypersonics and the decision to increase effort on helicopter research.

Mr. Goodhew

This is not good enough. The right hon. Gentleman is offering this further waffle. There is nothing definite in what he has said except in regard to helicopter research. Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware this Government cancelled all the most sophisticated projects that the aircraft industry was undertaking? Having written off sophistication, when is he going to settle down and give further support for some less sophisticated operations?

Mr. Mulley

The hon. Gentleman may be dissatisfied with what he calls waffle, but the House is dissatisfied with what he contributes by way of amateur political dramatics. At the end of the debate last week I said that this Government were spending on the aircraft industry approximately £1 million a day. If the Opposition would tell us how much they would spend and how they would equate that with their demand for reduced taxation, I should pay more respect to the kind of supplementary question that we have just heard.

Mr. R. Carr

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that until the sort of specific long-term programme for research, development and production for which we constantly ask is put forward, no national judgment can be formed of what we should be spending now or in the future?

Mr. Mulley

As I said before, we cannot draw up a general programme for research, development and production. It must consist of specific projects. The specific projects in respect of which Gov- ernment support is to be given have been announced. If the right hon. Gentleman has other ideas about things that we should be doing, perhaps he will let us know.

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