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Integrated Circuits (Research)

Volume 827: debated on Monday 6 December 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what additional financial assistance he intends to make available to British firms engaged in research on integrated circuits.

I do not think that financial assistance by the Government is necessarily the solution to all the complex problems involved. However, I have had discussions with some of the firms concerned and am willing to consider any proposals they may wish to make for support for projects related to the application of integrated circuits.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that not unhelpful answer. I hope he will bear in mind what he was told by the Plessey Company during his recent visit to my constituency and will also remember that the £5 million support given by the N.R.D.C. in 1969 for this sort of research is due to expire in 1972 and then has to be repaid on a 3 per cent. basis regardless of profits. Will he also bear in mind that the United States and Europe are ploughing great sums of money into the micro-electronics industry? Will he ensure that our own industry does not die?

I assure the hon. Gentleman that I have all those factors and many others in mind.