HC Deb 24 July 1987 vol 120 cc554-5W
Mr. Knox

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will give a progress report on preparations for the European Space Agency ministerial meeting in November.

Mr. Michael Marshall

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in what form and by what date he anticipates announcing Her Majesty's Government's response to the British National Space Centre's proposals for future expenditure before the European Space Agency meeting of Ministers scheduled for 9 and 10 November.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

Discussions are currently taking place between officials of the member states of the European Space Agency. The Government are reviewing their priorities for R & D expenditure. It is important that we make the most effective use for the benefit of United Kingdom industrial performance of the resources available from the taxpayer. The longer term benefits of expenditure on space research have to be balanced against alternative uses of funds in support of other areas of United Kingdom industry.

Having carefully considered the options on space, we have decided at present not to increase our expenditure above the current level. This is already running at over £100 million a year. Discussions and preparations will therefore proceed upon that basis. The private sector, if interested in the results from such research, should come forward with further resources.