§ 24. Mr. Warren
asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to come to a decision on the proposals of the Alvey report on a programme for advanced information technology; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
As my hon. Friend is aware, the Alvey report proposes an investment by Government and industry of £350 million. Investment on this scale will determine the course of a very significant proportion of the IT industry's research activities. It is therefore imperative that the decisions that we take now are the right ones. For this reason, we have consulted widely with the industries. In the light of these and other consultations we are considering our response to the report and I hope to make an announcement shortly.
§ Mr. Warren
Does my hon. Friend feel that his time for response should be of the same order as that taken by the committee to produce the report? Does he appreciate that other countries are moving ahead extremely fast and that a response is urgently required by our industry?
§ Mr. Baker
I am as anxious as my hon. Friend that we should reach a decision quickly on this very important programme. As it is the largest co-operative research programme that this country has ever tried, I must consult industry and indeed other Departments. Those consultations are now coming to an end.