HC Deb 01 December 1965 vol 721 cc214-5W
Mr. Julius Silverman

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a further statement about the future responsibilities of the Minister of Technology.

The Prime Minister

Yes. In my Statement to the House on the 26th of November, 1964, about the functions of the Minister of Technology I explained that his Ministry would in future be the sponsor Department for the machine tools, electronics, telecommunications and computer industries.

These were the industries to which it was at that stage most urgent for the new Ministry to give its attention; but the time has now come to enlarge the scope of the department by transferring to it the sponsorship of the mechanical and electrical engineering industries as a whole.

The Ministry of Technology will in addition assume responsibility for engineering standards and will deal directly with the British Standards Institution on this part of its work, but not its work on consumer protection. And it will take over from the Board of Trade the responsibility for determining standard weights and measures.

Any necessary Order in Council under the Ministers of the Crown (Transfer of Functions) Act, 1946 will be laid before Parliament as soon as practicable.

The central co-ordination of measures to promote the growth of industrial productivity in this country, through the National Economic Development Committees and by other means, is a primary concern of the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, but departmental Ministers carry direct responsibility for encouraging productivity in those industries which their departments sponsor. The Minister of Technology will accordingly have this responsibility for the mechanical and electrical engineering industries.

The Board of Trade will continue to deal direct with these industries on exports, commercial relations and on its other functions and responsibilities which affect industry as a whole.

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