§ Mr. Caborn
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will provide an estimate of the value of equipment to which the Science and Engineering Research Council has title at the South African astronomical observatory;
(2) if he will direct the Science and Engineering Research Council to terminate its inter-agency agreement with the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and arrange for the repatriation of the Science and Engineering Research Council's equipment at the South African astronomical observatory.
§ Mr. Walden
The SERC has already suspended the inter-agency agreement for financial reasons. The SERC-owned equipment at the South African astronomical observatory comprises the equipment from the former Cape observatory, the principal items of which were valued at R750,000 at the time of the agreement in 1972, together with equipment purchased over the period 1972–83 for about R200,000. In addition, SERC holds joint title to library and archival material acquired by SAAO since its establishment. With the exception of some small items of electronic equipment the cost of repatriating the equipment to which SERC has title would almost certainly exceed its value.