§ 26. Mr. Barnett
asked the Minister of Technology if he will make a statement on the work of his Department arising from the Industrial Expansion Act.
§ The Minister of Technology (Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn)
Under the industrial investment scheme provisions of the Act, the House approved the Computers Merger Scheme on 21st June, 1968. I am now considering with industry a number of individual and general projects which may in due course call for action under these provisions.
I shall soon be completing the agreement to purchase the assets of the Beagle Aircraft Company. The arrangements for financial support for the production of Concorde are under discussion with the firms concerned. The increased finance for the National Research Development Corporation and the Shipbuilding Industry Board will, of course, be used to support the future activities of these organisations.
§ Mr. Barnett
Now that the I.R.C. is working so much more effectively, does my right hon. Friend consider that perhaps some of the schemes he originally envisaged introducing under the Industrial Expansion Act will not be necessary? In other words, does he think that he will need the Act quite as much as was first thought?
§ Mr. Benn
My hon. Friend has another Question on the Order Paper about the I.R.C. There is no overlap here. In the case of the computer merger we put in £10 million in research and development, which the I.R.C. was not in a position to do. I do not visualise any difficulty between the two provisions.