HC Deb 26 November 1964 vol 702 cc216-7W
Dr. Bray

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now make a statement about the functions of the Minister of Technology.

The Prime Minister

The Minister of Technology has the general responsibility of guiding and stimulating a major national effort to bring advanced technology and new processes into British industry. The methods employed will include an intensified use of the appropriate Research Stations and of the National Research Development Corporation, civil development contracts and studies to identify particular industries or parts of industries suitable for action.

The Minister will consider what changes might be made in the arrangements for procurement financed by public funds in order to contribute to the aim of promoting technological advance. He will initiate studies of the status of the engineering profession. All these tasks will be undertaken in close consultation with the other Departments concerned.

As already announced, the Minister will be responsible for the Atomic Energy Authority and the National Research Development Corporation and will take over the elements of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research headquarters which have been concerned with research and technical development in industry. The Ministry of Technology will in future be the sponsor department for the machine tools, electronics, telecommunications and computer industries. The Ministry will also establish close relations with the British Standards Institution and will support their work in the engineering field.

The Science and Technology Bill now before Parliament proposes that the powers of the Atomic Energy Authority shall be extended to permit the Authority to undertake research and development outside the atomic field. Legislative action will also be taken to increase the powers and resources of the National Research Development Corporation.