HC Deb 29 January 1969 vol 776 cc1313-4
19. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Minister of Technology what progress is being made, in particular with France, Germany, Italy and Holland, in the development of a co-ordinated European computer industry.

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

This is essentially a matter for the firms in the respective countries which have been carrying on discussions with a view to making mutually beneficial collaborative arrangements.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

In view of the importance to Europe and to this country of a strong and developing computer industry, is it possible for the hon. Gentleman to approach the Treasury and the other countries with a view to arranging a fiscal advantage over a fixed period of time to get the industry going?

Dr. Bray

There is no lack of financial resources in this country or in any other. The importance is appreciated in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in considering this problem we have to recognise the fact, however much it may be deplored, that many European computer firms are largely American controlled and owned? If we are to make sense of collaboration between the United Kingdom and Europe, we have to take America into account as well.

Dr. Bray

It is impossible to ignore the American position, but there are major European-controlled firms with computer interests and, as the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Dodds-Parker) says, it is important to keep in touch with those.