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Aero-Engines (Research And Development Expenditure)

Volume 523: debated on Monday 1 February 1954

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asked the Minister of Supply the total amount of money spent by his Department, since the war to the last convenient date, on research and development of aero-engines; and to what extent this money has been recovered by repayments after sales by manufacturers.

Almost all our expenditure on aero-engine development has been primarily for military purposes. Information cannot, therefore, be published. Until 1950, the amounts recovered from manufacturers in respect of the sales of engines were not kept separately. These repayments are at present running at the rate of about £1 million a year.

:Has the Minister seen the statement by the chairman of the biggest group of aircraft manufacturers, that we are not spending sufficient on research and development and that the Minister's Department is now actuated by timidity and complacency? Does the right hon. Gentleman accept these criticisms?

No, Sir. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the full answer which I gave on this subject last Monday to the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly). I will send the hon. Gentleman a copy.

:Would the Minister agree that the amount of public money which has been spent up to now has been very large indeed? Does he think that a return of £1 million a year is fair?

:The right hon. Gentleman evidently does not know what it is all about. I explained that this expenditure is almost entirely on military types. The return that we get is in the form of military aircraft for our Forces. It is purely a by-product ifwe get anything in the way of repayments in respect of engines developed for military purposes which are subsequently used for civil purposes and then sold abroad.