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Volume 227: debated on Monday 28 June 1993

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what discussions he has had with the chairman of Rolls-Royce about his White Paper on science, engineering and technology.

I expect to meet Sir Ralph Robins next month and I am looking forward to discussing the White Paper with him. I was greatly encouraged by the letter from him and 12 other senior industrialists in The Times on 1 June welcoming the White Paper.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Sir Ralph Robins letter was also signed by the chief executives of Glaxo, British Aerospace and many others? Does not that show that the vast majority of British industrialists fully support my right hon. Friend's White Paper on science, engineering and technology?

My hon. Friend is right. There has been a very broad welcome for the White Paper. As sometimes happens, the spokesman for the Labour party in the House of Lords, who had perhaps read the document before responding to it, got it right in welcoming it, whereas its spokesman in this House had not read it and did not welcome it.