HC Deb 11 July 1967 vol 750 cc402-3
19. Mr. David Price

asked the Minister of Technology whether he has yet decided to present an annual report of his Department's affairs to Parliament.

Mr. Benn

No, Sir. The amalgamation with the Ministry of Aviation has raised new factors which I want to consider further.

Mr. Price

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a year ago, when I asked a similar Question, he said that he would consider the matter sympathetically? In the light of the amalgamation with aviation, would he consider producing a report at least on the non-aviation side? I realise that aviation is a rather separate question, but a report would be of benefit to hon. and right hon. Members on both sides of the House.

Mr. Benn

I am still attracted by the idea, but all our establishments, including the Atomic Energy Authority and the N.R.D.C., publish annual reports. Since the hon. Gentleman tabled his last Question, we have published "New Technology" which conveys regularly information about what is happening. I have also to consider the load on the Civil Service in requiring it to publish another annual report. For these reasons, I have not yet been able to reach a firm decision.

Mr. Rees-Davies

Surely the right hon. Gentleman must agree that we have absolutely no instrument which collates Government policy and which gives their attitude towards the various projects which are being dealt with by bodies like the N.R.D.C. There is nothing by which the public can be thoroughly informed of the Minister's policy. Leaving aviation out of it, surely my hon. Friend is right about that.

Mr. Benn

I did not answer the specific question about the non-aviation side, but the way in which the new Ministry of Technology is growing will ultimately blur the old differences which divided the two Departments. There is an internal integration which is growing in the Department, and that was intended. Other agencies like the A.E.A. and the N.R.D.C. are co-ordinated, and they are part of my responsibility.