HC Deb 09 March 1962 vol 655 cc100-1W
Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Aviation what steps have been taken in his Department during the last two years to improve reliability of estimating and for tightening up the procedures for checking progress in continuation of the policy announced by his predecessor on 21st March, 1960.

Mr. Thorneycroft

The improved produres which have been adopted by my Department for the control of expenditure were described to the Committee of Public Accounts in Session 1959–60 and were summarised in paragraph 44 of its Report. They were also outlined to the House by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on 19th December, 1960 (OFFICIAL REPORT, Cols. 955–958). These procedures accord with the recommendations of the Committee on the Management and Control of Research and Development which reported to my noble Friend the Minister for Science on 5th July, 1961. While these procedures should lead to improved control, I must repeat the warning which I gave in the House on Tuesday, 6th March (OFFICIAL REPORT, Col. 250) that I do not believe that any procedure will make it possible to estimate accurately at the outset the cost or time scale of an advanced development project.

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