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Alvey Programme

Volume 87: debated on Monday 18 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will indicate what proportion of the research work being carried out under the Alvey programme by GEC is applicable (a) purely to defence purposes, (b) purely to civilian use and (c) either to defence or civilian use.

The work supported under the Alvey programme is of an advanced nature and its potential applications are not all, as yet, entirely determined. My assessment is that none of the work funded by the Alvey programme at GEC is applicable purely to defence purposes and almost all could be applicable either to defence or civilian use.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he expects the full amount allocated to the Alvey programme to be used in 1985–86; and what expenditure he anticipates being incurred in financial years beyond 1985–86.

As I explained in my reply to the hon. Member on 30 October, I expect expenditure by the Department of Trade and Industry in 1985–86 to be £18 million, this is the sum currently allocated for this year. Expected expenditure for the years 1986–87 and 1987–88 is £20.8 million and £23 million respectively. Spending allocations have not yet been determined beyond the end of 1987–88.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what criteria he has established for giving or withholding his agreement in respect of the exploitation outside the EEC of the results of work funded under the Alvey programme.

The occasion for making such decisions has not yet arisen. When it does, the criterion will be the national interest in the light of conditions prevailing at the time.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if, further to his reply of 30 October, Official Report, column 480, about the continued support for the development of advanced information technology in Britain beyond the cessation of the Alvey programme in 1988, he will indicate the status of views expressed at the Alvey conference in July by the Minister for Information Technology that any continued programme would rely on less Government money, more commercial financial involvement, and increased European collaboration.

I do not think that my hon. Friend's remarks were meant to carry as precise an interpretation as the hon. Member has placed on them and I have thus arranged to place a copy of the text of what he actually said in the Library of the House. My hon. Friend was setting the scene for the debate on the lessons learned from the Alvey programme and on what is to follow it.