HC Deb 29 April 1969 vol 782 cc1154-5
Q4. Mr. Moonman

asked the Prime Minister whether he will request from Government Departments a progress report indicating the use and management of computer and related equipment similar to that requested from the appropriate Departments by the President of the United States, details of which have been forwarded to him.

The Prime Minister

This is not necessary, Sir. I have called for and received regular reports from Government Departments, and computerisation in the Civil Service is proceeding quickly.

Mr. Moonman

While I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him whether he would like to comment on the fact that it is reported that in the United States, partly as a result of the action taken, substantial savings have been made in government, running into several millions of dollars and it has also stimulated Civil Service, Government and industry to appreciate the use of management techniques?

The Prime Minister

We started on this straight away in October, 1964. We now have a considerable installation of computers in Government Departments—190 compared with only 78 in September, 1964—with another 90 on order, and a very high proportion of them of British origin, contrary to the previously prevailing practice.

Mr. Ian Lloyd

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that one of the most important decisions facing any Government in this country during the next ten years is the access which hon. Members are to have to the Government computer network?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman is quite right. We are trying all the time to make more information available. No doubt he will have seen, if he studies, as I am sure he does, the bulletin put out regularly by the Central Statistical Office, what is being done to improve and extend the Government Statistical Service. I hope we can all agree on the need to make as much of this information available to all hon. Members as possible.

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