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Joint Telescope Agreement

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the UK will withdraw from the joint telescope agreement with Australia; and what the annual savings will be to his Department. (98210)

The agreements between the Governments of the UK and Australia concerning the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) will terminate with effect from 1 July 2010.

The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) is responsible for the funding of astronomical research. In financial year 2005-06, the UK's contribution to the costs of operation of the AAT, paid by PPARC, was £1.58 million. The reductions in annual financial contributions, as a result of the phased withdrawal from the Anglo-Australian Telescope, will be approximately as follows:

£ million

2006-07

0.7

2007-08

1.1

2008-09

1.2

2009-10

1.3

2010-11

1.5