HC Deb 14 July 1975 vol 895 c1042
12. Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary for Industry if he is satisfied with the extent of the Government's commitment to supporting industrial technologies.

Mr. Kaufman

Yes, Sir, but it is regularly reviewed.

Mr. Rooker

Has my hon. Friend had time since taking office in the Department to take on board the estimate of his Department's Committee for Industrial Technologies that industry could save £1,500 million to £2,000 million a year by making better use of existing techniques and knowledge which are readily available but which it simply will not use?

Mr. Kaufman

I have begun to devote my attention to the matters to which my hon. Friend has referred. It is clear that the limited financial help which the Government are able to give towards consideration of these matters is already paying off and can pay off even more.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is the unions which are resisting technical advance in case there should be redundancies, such as those which have occurred recently because new techniques proposed by employers have been adamantly resisted by the trade unions?

Mr. Kaufman

If employers in past decades had pressed new, profitable and efficient techniques upon trade unionists who were resisting them, the situation of British industry would not be what it is today. We have a double problem: a failure of employers and companies to innovate and invest, and the necessity of trade unions to respond to them. When necessary consultation has taken place, trade unions have responded.