HC Deb 17 June 1974 vol 875 cc16-7
10. Mr. Hannan

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what plans he has for providing financial assistance for research and development of solar energy.

Mr. Strang

The United Kingdom is contributing to a programme of research on solar energy within the EEC and some research at universities is being funded by the SRC. We have no plans to increase expenditure in this area at present.

Mr. Hannan

Is that not an extremely unsatisfactory answer? Everyone agrees—as I am sure the Minister does—that the demand for energy is continuing to increase? Although it appears that the Government would have people believe that the energy crisis has disappeared, the need for continued research and development of alternative forms of energy other than fossil fuels is of vital importance.

Mr. Strang

I have noted the hon. Gentleman's comments. He will be pleased to hear that the new Energy Technology Support Unit at Harwell is to carry out an independent study to see whether the Government's views on this matter are soundly based.

Sir John Hall

Will the hon. Gentleman quantify in money terms the amount of research that is being carried out?

Mr. Strang

I cannot give the hon. Gentleman the figure, because the money is not sponsored by the Department but comes through the Science Research Council. However, given notice I am sure that we could extract further information on this.