HC Deb 06 June 1967 vol 747 cc791-2
Q11. Mr. Neave

asked the Prime Minister what steps he has taken to coordinate Great Britain's national space programme; and what criteria he uses in deciding the priorities of the requirements of the various Departments concerned in space activities.

The Prime Minister

Co-ordination of our space programme and the assessment of priorities between them is achieved by the normal methods of inter-departmental consultation, Sir.

Mr. Neave

Can the Prime Minister say whether the Zuckerman Committee is considering this point as reported and, if so, would it be advisable for the Committee to make its recommendations known before the European Space Conference in July?

The Prime Minister

It is a fact that this matter is being looked at by the Central Advisory Committee. There are very many difficulties. I have explained on many occasions why the previous Government and we believe that there should be this division of responsibility. If we could get more coordination we would be glad to do something about it.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that even in the British military space communications system, Skynet, we have had to place contracts for two satellites with the Philco Corporation of America for them to launch in America? Is it not time for the British aerospace industry to be brought forward in these systems?

The Prime Minister

Yes, I very much share the views of the hon. Member on this matter. It is part of a wider problem. We are trying to build up our own industry on a competitive basis with the Americans. In this case the projects of our own industry would not have been competitive.