HC Deb 01 March 1966 vol 725 cc252-3W
Mr. Bishop

asked the Minister of Technology (1) if he will list in the OFFICIAL REPORT the various bodies he has set up in order to further the progress of technology in Great Britain; if he will summarise the objectives, facilities and total value of grants available in each case; and what further action he intends to take in this way to further the progress of British technology;

(2) what steps he is taking to help engineering and allied industries to increase their efficiency; at what cost to Her Majesty's Government; and what action he is taking to publicise such facilities.

Mr. Cousins

As the work of my Department has developed, the House has been informed of the setting up of a number of new bodies to further the progress of technology, notably in connection with the encouragement of the development and use of computers. In the main, however, I am relying on the expansion and better co-ordination of the activities of existing organisations such as the Research Stations, the Industrial Research Associations and the National Research Development Corporation, and on an increasing use of the resources of the Atomic Energy Authority on non-atomic work. The Department is also building up its regional organisation and its advisory services to industry.

The purposes of these various activities have been broadly defined by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his statements to the House, notably on 26th November, 1964, and 1st December, 1965.

The cost of the work of my Department in promoting progress in technology and industrial efficiency will be found in the Civil Estimates. They provide for the future growth of its activities, notably the expansion of the regional organisation, the strengthening of the links between Universities and Colleges of Technology and industry and the development of the Department's services to increase productivity and encourage the wider application of automation.

As regards action to publicise these facilities, I have engaged a consultant to advise on how the specific measures being prepared by my Department to promote technological advance can most effectively be presented both to industry generally and to the engineering and allied industries.