HC Deb 06 May 1968 vol 764 cc16-7
15. Mr. Moonman

asked the Minister of Technology if he will give a cost analysis of the British contribution to the European collaborative work in the research and development field, similar to that recently announced with regard to the European Launcher Development Organisation.

Mr. Stonehouse

I am examining ways in which this technique can be further applied to the United Kingdom share in European collaborative projects, but in many cases, in defence and science, it is not always the most appropriate way of judging the value.

Mr. Moonman

While appreciating the hard-headed approach that has been shown by the Ministry in costing E.L.D.O. and the proportion of R. and D. made by the industry, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to say how much of the British contribution was made by the industry and what priority he places on the tactical value of such projects?

Mr. Stonehouse

The work done by the industry is extremely important. I understand that it represents about half of the total amount we are spending in European collaborative work. I place a very great deal of value on it.

Mr. David Price

Would the Minister publish the cost-benefit studies which his Department did on the E.L.D.O. project? Is he aware that many of my hon. Friends who are interested in this approach would be more persuaded if we knew the criteria on which these cost benefit studies were done; for example, on the d.f.c. side, from the point of view of the likely return and over how long these matters have been assessed?

Mr. Stonehouse

I do not think that I am in a position to say that we should publish our confidential assessments of an international report, the meetings of which were presided over by M. Causse. I believe that this would be an inappropriate way of revealing the manner in which our investigations were conducted.