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Volume 979: debated on Thursday 28 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what are the terms of reference and aims of the microprocessors application project; how much has been spent on this project since its inception; and what further funds are to be allocated for 1980–81.

[pursuant to his reply 25 February 1980, c. 460–61]: The central aims of the microprocessors application project are to raise the awareness of key decision makers to the significance of microelectronic applications, to increase the training and retraining facilities for engineers in industry, and to provide incentives for feasibility studies and project developments. The figures for actual spend and so far committed are £3£897 million, £18,220 million respectively. The allocation for 1980–81 has not yet been finalised but we expect to spend about £15 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list those projects and schemes which have been wholly or partly funded by his Department to promote and extend the microelectronic industry; how much has been spent in each case over the past three years; and what percentage of his Department's budget this represents.

[pursuant to his reply, 25 February 1980, c. 460–61]: Spending by the Department in support of the microelectronics industry in the past three financial years has been as follows:

Microelectronics support scheme6,579,000
Electronic components industry scheme318,000
Microelectronics industry support programme1,168,000
Computers, systems and electronics requirements board1,750,000
Advanced computer techniques project350,000
Individual projects within these groups are generally commercially confidential. The spend represents about 0·5 per cent. of the Department's spend in support of the private sector of industry as a whole during the same period. It does not include spend by the National Research Development Corporation or the National Enterprise Board.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish a comprehensive list of microprocessor surveys, and their costs, funded by his Department.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 February 1980]: Since the inception of the microprocessor applications project in 1978 my Department has commissioned and funded the following general microprocessor surveys with various objectives:—

  • (i) Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Microprocessor Applications—Cases and Observations.
  • (ii) Market Opinion Research International Ltd.: Microelectronics—The Views of Senior British Management.
  • (iii) National Computing Centre: The Impact of Microprocessors on British Business.
  • (iv) Stanford Research Institute: Status Report on Microprocessor Technology and its Implications for the United Kingdom.
  • (v) Systec Ltd.: Review of European National Support Programmes in Microelectronics.
  • In additon, the Department has paid a fee for access to a study commissioned by a number of clients of Arthur D. Little Inc. on the strategic impact of intelligent electronics in USA and Western Europe 1977–87.The total cost to the Department was some £85,00 though there will be some offset by receipts from sales of published surveys.