§ Mr. Onslow
asked the Secretary of State for Industry why agreement on the budget and programmes of the European Space Agency has been delayed; and what is his estimate of the effect of the delay on the work of the European Space Agency, and the manufacturing industries involved in European Space Agency projects.
§ Mr. Huckfield
Delay in approving the 1978 general budget covering the basic80W activities and the scientific programme of the European Space Agency—approximately 28 per cent. of the Agency's annual spend—has been due to the position adopted by certain member States, other than the United Kingdom, with regard to their participation in certain programmes of the agency. We deplore this action and are endeavouring to find a solution to the problem.
If the situation were to continue the main effect would be a reduction in the funds available for implementing the agreed scientific programme of the agency which in turn would deprive industry of work in this particular field. The budgets for the other programmes of the agency, in particular the space applications programmes, are not affected and activities in these programmes are proceeding normally.