§ Mr. Greenway
asked the Prime Minister if she is now in a position to respond to the report on science and Government from the Select Committee on Science and Technology.
§ The Prime Minister
We are publishing today our response to the First Report of the Select Committee of the House of Lords on Science and Technology, on "Science and Government" (Cmnd. 8591). The response emphasises our gratitude to the Select Committee for a valuable and stimulating review, and we accept the main thrust of its report that we have a responsibility to ensure that scientific and technological issues are taken properly into account in policy making.
Among the measures announced in the White Paper are broader terms of reference for the Advisory Council for Applied Research and Development; closer links between ACARD and the Advisory Board for the Research Councils; the introduction of periodic reports on science and technology; the establishment of a committee of departmental chief scientists; improved links between those responsible for civil and for defence research; and the introduction of a system of annual reviews of research, intended to make our research effort more effective.
In its report, the Select Committee recommended the establishment of a council on science and technology but we consider that our objectives can be achieved by the better co-ordination of the work of ACARD and ABRC, which will be facilitated by the arrangements summarised above. The Committee also recommended that a Cabinet Minister should be designated to speak for science and technology. But the improvements outlined in our response, taken together with my personal co-ordinating role, mean that scientific and technological issues will be given proper attention. I am therefore satisfied that the present ministerial arrangements will continue to work well and will meet the Select Committee's objectives.