asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many firm applications have now been submitted under the Government's robot support programme.
Since April 1981 there have been 97 firm applications for assistance under the scheme. In addition, the Production Engineering Research Association has undertaken 54 robot consultancy studies.
I thank my hon. Friend for that information. Does he agree that in the long term the best way to ensure the regeneration of British industry, and therefore to create more jobs, is to introduce more modern methods, such as robotics? Does he therefore agree that nobody on either side of industry need fear the introduction of those techniques?
Yes, I do. I have made it clear many times that British industry will be competitive for the rest of the century only if it embraces the new technologies. I am glad that this scheme has been so successful.