HC Deb 18 April 1983 vol 41 cc7-8
7. Mr. Neil Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what measures have been taken for the secure storage of industrial knowledge in the event of war.

Mr. Norman Lamont

The secure storage of industrial knowledge is a matter for the companies possessing it.

Mr. Thorne

I am sorry that my hon. Friend does not have any definite plans, bearing in mind the extensive way in which Scandinavian countries and Switzerland provide for the effective storage of such information. Therefore, will he reconsider the matter in view of the importance that everybody should attach to this subject in the event of the worst happening?

Mr. Lamont

I am interested in what my hon. Friend said and I shall certainly give the matter further thought. This is the first time that it has been brought to my attention. I notice that my hon. Friend did not mention it the other day in his speech on civil defence. However, I see the seriousness of his point.

Mr. Dixon

Is the Minister aware that under the Government's policies not only shall we not have the ability to store industrial knowledge, but we shall not have the capacity to build ships for the storage of soldiers, sailors and marines for a future task force? What does the hon. Gentleman intend to do to maintain the British shipbuilding industry so that it will be able to fulfil our needs in the event of a war?

Mr. Lamont

If I were the hon. Gentleman I should come to the debate tomorrow.