§ Mr. Whitaker
asked the Minister of Technology whether he will make a statement about British national and international contribution towards using the resources of the sea-bed; what is the present annual expenditure from public funds in this field; whether he is satisfied with present co-ordination and progress; and what estimate he has of the potential resources.
§ Mr. Benn:
The present national annual expenditure on research and development in marine science and technology is of the order of£13 million. The Working Party on Marine Science and Technology, to which reference has been made in the House on a number of occasions, is considering what action is needed to estimate the potential resources of the sea-bed. Any new arrangements which may prove necessary to co-ordinate future programmes of work in this field will be decided in the light of their Report. The United Kingdom is playing a full part in international co-operation in N.A.T.O., O.E.C.D. and the International Oceanographic Commission of the U.N.