HC Deb 09 November 1970 vol 806 cc28-9
32. Mr. Molloy

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what rôle his Department will undertake in financial contribution as well as practical aid in industrial, technological, and scientific research, and experiment; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ridley

The hon. Member will now have seen the White Paper on the re-organisation of Central Government (Cmnd. 4506) which sets out the rôle of the Department.

I shall be reviewing the various programmes, including those concerned with industrial, technological and scientific research, in the light of this.

Mr. Molloy

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that part of the policy of the former Ministry of Technology was to co-ordinate British resources and British resourcefulness and that this has been a great boon to industry, commerce and medicine as well as to defence? Therefore, will he not act too rashly in destroying something which has made a massive contribution to the recovery of British industry and would have been of great assistance in future?

Mr. Ridley

The present Government never act rashly. We will make sure that the results of the review which we are carrying out are to the benefit of industry and of the taxpayer.

Mr. Benn

Will the hon. Gentleman publish a Green Paper, as the previous Government did, so that there can be some debate of proposals made before decisions are reached, particularly if they concern the Atomic Energy Authority?

Mr. Ridley

It is premature to consider what colour paper to publish before we have decided what our policy will be.