HC Deb 09 February 1981 vol 998 cc591-2
11. Mr. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when the Government intend to publish their response to the ACARD report on information technology.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

I shall be co-ordinating the Government's response to the ACARD's excellent report on informantion technology and that will be published soon.

Mr. Henderson

In addition to the co-ordination that my hon. Friend will be arranging within his Department, will there be further co-ordination with other Departments? Is not my hon. Friend disappointed that, in a period of general recession, opportunities for profitable investment in information technology have sometimes been neglected? In particular, will he look at opportunites for carrying out legal reforms which would prevent any holding back of the development of the industry?

Mr. Baker

On the last point, I am keen to remove any obstacles that will hinder the growth of the industry. They tend to be in the area of national and international regulations and so on. On the point concerning general investment, I am not aware of general withholding of investment in these industries. There is a good flow of investment going into the industries, which are a growth sector. On the first point, concerning co-ordination between Government Departments, my hon. Friend is right. The policies affecting the range of these industries, which range from satellites through to computer games, mean that several departments are involved.

Mr. Forman

I recognise my hon. Friend's positive response to the excellent report. Will he undertake that the Government's public sector procurement policy will be to the fore in responding to the report? Will the Government do everything possible to initiate demonstration projects in the public sector?

Mr. Baker

Public procurement is an important and powerful weapon which can be used constructively in this area. I am arranging for cetain trial operations within my Department using Prestel/Viewdata, in which this country has a world lead. We must ensure that we do not lose it.