§ Mr. Newton
asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) how many firms are eligible for support under the microelectronic support scheme; how many have received such support; which they are; and how much each has received;
(2) how many projects have been supported under the microelectronic support scheme; how many new circuits have resulted; and what is the value of sales of such circuits;
(3) what export orders have been obtained, or are expected to be obtained, in respect of developments wholly or partly financed under the microelectronic support scheme;
(4) what import-saving has resulted, or is expected to result, from developments wholly or partly financed under the microelectronic support scheme;
(5) what are the present terms of reference of the microelectronic support scheme; and whether there have been any changes in these terms of reference, or their application, since the scheme was announced in 1972;
(6) what is the total of public funds available under the microelectronic support scheme; how much has been allocated; and how much is the subject of current applications for support.
Mr. Alan Williams
The present terms of reference of the microelectronics support scheme are as announced in 1972—i.e., to encourage the development of integrated circuits specially designed for particular applications by British semiconductor manufacturers. The total of public funds available under the scheme is £10 million, of which £3.9 million have been paid to the three British-owned semiconductor manufacturers who manufacture integrated circuits specially designed for particular applications. They344W are Ferranti, GEC and Plessey. It would not be proper to publish the amount paid to each. Another £1.2 million has been authorised. Thus the total allocated is £5.1 million. Further projects are under discussion to the value of about £1 million.
One hundred and twenty-two projects have been approved under the scheme and these have resulted in the development of approximately 300 circuits.
Total sales of the three companies in the field supported by the scheme are at an annual rate of £10 million, of which about 40 per cent. is direct exports; these are expected to rise substantially. Import saving is not a prime objective of the scheme but a substantial part of the domestic sales of about £6 million would otherwise have been met from imports.