HC Deb 19 January 1976 vol 903 cc909-10
15. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will take steps to provide selective incentives to encourage automation as a means of improving productivity in manufacturing and other industries; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State, Department of Industry (Mr. Gerald Kaufman)

Investment expenditure by industry, covering inter alia, measures of automation, already qualifies for tax relief and other appropriate incentives. Automation systems and projects involving automation would also be considered under the Industry Act scheme announced in the Budget last April, and since extended, for the acceleration of investment projects.

In addition, selective assistance under the Science and Technology Act is given to the automation industry by means of shared cost development contracts and pre-production orders.

Mr. Roberts

Is my hon. Friend aware that although we appreciate the considerable amount of development that the Government have already undertaken in this field, we believe that if we are to take advantage of the sharp upturn in the economy for which we hope later this year there must be still further efforts to encourage automation and the development of high technology generally?

Mr. Kaufman

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I hope that industry will avail itself of the kind of aids that are already available from the Department.