HC Deb 29 April 1968 vol 763 cc785-6
52. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will make a statement on further action taken or pro- posed to be taken to increase the range of research and development work being undertaken by private industry and by Government Departments in the Northern Region.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Technology (Dr. Jeremy Bray)

The Department has had a number of discussions with authorities in the Northern Region on proposals for technological development in the region, and these are continuing.

Mr. Blenkinsop

When will my hon. Friend be able to say something rather more specific, as there is great anxiety over the great backlog in this field in the Northern Region?

Dr. Bray

I much appreciate my hon. Friend's enthusiasm and anxiety to see progress here. I share his desire, as does my right hon. Friend. We are wasting no time.

Dame Irene Ward

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that on the North-East Coast we think that there is too much talk and too little action? With great respect to the hon. Gentleman, I would feel much happier if the right hon. Gentleman could tell us how he is getting on in the Cabinet, who are obviously the niggers in the woodpile.

Dr. Bray

The hon. Lady is quite misinformed about the extent of the action that there has been. There has been an N.R.D.C. project of £¾ million with Welwyn Electric, a £1 million project for the development of transducers by an instrument firm, and projects for a superconducting motor at I.R.D.

Mr. David Price

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that part of the answer to this question is for the two major universities in the North-East, particularly in their engineering departments, to get as close contact as possible with the developing industries and the highly technological industries which are sited in the North-East?

Dr. Bray

Yes. The hon. Gentleman makes a very important point and one which we are pursuing with both universities at present.