HC Deb 12 May 1969 vol 783 cc179-80W
Mr. Small

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will make a statement on British participation in the proposed European experimental television relay satellite.

Mr. Benn

At the European Space Conference in November, 1968 the United Kingdom stated its willingness to participate in a European applications satellite programme based upon the tele- vision relay satellite proposed by C.E.T.S.—provided that (a) it used the most economical launcher and (b) we were relieved of part of our remaining anticipated contribution to E.L.D.O. In the course of the Conference, arrangements were worked out under which the greater part of the extra cost of using a European launcher in preference to a cheaper alternative would be borne by those countries concerned with the continued development of a European launcher, and the excess cost to the users would be limited; the United Kingdom agreed to these arrangements on the basis of its relief from E.L.D.O.

This was achieved at the E.L.D.O. Ministerial Conference on 15th April, when agreement was reached on a reduction of £6 million in the United Kingdom's expected contributions to E.L.D.O. This enabled the United Kingdom to confirm its willingness in principle to participate in the C.E.T.S. television satellite project, and I notified the Secretary-General of the European Space Conference accordingly on 15th April.

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