HC Deb 09 July 1969 vol 786 cc1354-6
33. Mr. David Price

asked the Minister of Technology over what period of time beyond the current financial year he is currently budgeting for the research establishments under his control.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

Four years, Sir.

Mr. Price

Do I gather that the four-year programme is a rolling programme and not static? Can the hon. Gentleman tell us whether the Treasury will guarantee to honour the commitment of this four-year programme when the actual year of expenditure is reached?

Mr. Mallalieu

This is a rolling programme. As the hon. Gentleman knows, I can give no guarantee on behalf of the Treasury.

35. Mr. David Price

asked the Minister of Technology when he now expects to publish the White Paper on Research Policy forecast in the February, 1968, number of New Technology.

Mr. Benn

Various developments in our research policy have already been announced; and others are under discussion. These will be made known as soon as possible.

Mr. Price

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is the same Question as I put down on 1st April, 1968, when he said that he had decided to defer publication of a White Paper? Will he produce a White Paper some time before the end of this Parliament?

Mr. Benn

My answers have improved every time the hon. Gentleman has put down Questions to me about this matter. I discovered, in considering the question of a White Paper, that I would be imposing a rigidity on myself in that I would be unable to do things in advance of a White Paper, which would be delayed until everything was tied up. We have the A.E.A. reorganisation which is part of this; we have introduced a new scheme for industrial control of research programmes; and we have also looked at this from the point of view of the ceiling on civil developments and civil applications coming along and the rundown of military developments. Therefore, I would rather not commit myself at this stage as to when I would publish a White Paper.

Mr. Moonman

While recognising the strain that a White Paper imposes on a Department, could I ask my hon. Friend whether he would consider issuing a Green Paper which would also refer to the industrial exploitation section of the Ministry, which would be helpful.

Mr. Benn

We have considered issuing a green paper, a White Paper with green chapters and various other things. But I would prefer to do it as soon as I am able to say what should be done.

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