HC Deb 12 July 1979 vol 970 cc660-1
Q4. Mr. Ian Lloyd

asked the Prime Minister if she will appoint a Minister of Cabinet rank with specific responsibility for the overall co-ordination of science policy.

The Prime Minister

I do not consider that such an appointment is necessary. There is already full consultation between the Ministers and Departments concerned.

Mr. Lloyd

Although all Members of Parliament assume that my right hon. Friend's sympathies are with the importance of science, is she aware that within the OECD area there are 10 countries which appoint a Minister of Cabinet rank with specific responsibility for science and technology? Is she further aware that if we are to meet our energy aims and ambitions, that will depend entirely upon the scientific and technological community? Can she give it some encouragement that the Government agree with that view?

The Prime Minister

The person who has most responsibility for the future of science and technology is my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science. There is a junior Minister who is responsible for science education. I do not think that it would be an advance to appoint a specific Minister for science and technology. Attention to scientific and technological matters should run through each and every Department, and should not be allocated to one specific Department.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Reverting to the question of science, will the Prime Minister say where and when she received a mandate for the figures revealed today which show that a housewife who paid £25 last month for her groceries now pays £28.25?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That comes under the open type of question. That is stretching imagination beyond even what a Welshman can take.