§ Mr. Ashdown
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of firms participating in or benefiting from the Alvey programme are (a) defence contractors, (b) not connected with defence contracts and (c) first-time users.
§ Mr. Pattie
The majority of the 50 or so firms now participating in the Alvey programme have interests in both civil and defence applications of IT but some of the smaller firms are not defence contractors. Generally only experienced users can contribute directly to an advanced technology programme but we have specifically created some clubs to give companies a first exposure to the latest techniques.