HC Deb 16 December 1975 vol 902 cc1143-4
4. Sir John Hall

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why, in the year ended 31st March 1975, less than 27 per cent. of orders for computers under one Atlas power were placed with British manufacturers.

Mr. Mulley

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to orders placed by universities. Computers under one Atlas power are not subject to Government procurement policy, but I understand that universities order them from overseas manufacturers only when suitable British machines are not available.

Sir J. Hall

Does not the Minister agree that British manufacturers of these smaller computers are certainly equal to, if not superior to, foreign manufacturers? Is it not rather odd that, when the Government are urging people to "Buy British", his own Ministry should not urge universities to encourage our own British computer industry by buying computers equally satisfactory for their needs?

Mr. Mulley

I agree that it would be highly desirable that they should, but I am advised that they buy from abroad only when they feel that to do so meets their particular need better than what it available here. However, if the hon. Gentleman would care to contact me further to see whether we can improve collaboration between the British manufacturers and universities, I should be happy to work with him to that end.