Hovercraft Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Technology – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th November 1967.

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Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West 12:00 am, 14th November 1967

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will make a statement on Government plans for the future of the hovercraft industry.

Photo of Dr Jeremy Bray Dr Jeremy Bray , Middlesbrough West

In collaboration with the National Research Development Corporation and the industry, the Ministry of Technology is working out a programme of basic research and development for the design and production of different types of craft to meet different needs both at home and overseas. Our aim is to do what- ever is possible to help to build up this new industry.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

Can my hon. Friend assure us that the highly successful service by British Rail's subsidiary between Portsmouth and Southampton and the Isle of Wight will be used as a model for taking the initiative in establishing services like this abroad as an important means of earning foreign currency?

Photo of Dr Jeremy Bray Dr Jeremy Bray , Middlesbrough West

Yes, Sir. As my hon. Friend knows, there are much more ambitious plans for the Channel, using very much larger craft.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

Would the hon. Gentleman say what steps he is taking to try to persuade the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to come to an early decision about the Pegwell Bay project? Can he give an assurance that, as a result of the National Physical Laboratory coming into the picture with Hovercraft Development Limited, there will be further encouragement given to those wishing to take up licences—for example, Hovermarine Ltd.?

Photo of Dr Jeremy Bray Dr Jeremy Bray , Middlesbrough West

I believe that the result of the Pegwell Bay inquiry will be available very shortly. Licences are granted by Hovercraft Development Limited. A further licence was granted recently to Vospers. The situation in the industry will be kept under very close review to make sure that the developments are exploited to the full.

Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough

Can the hon. Gentleman say what facilities and encouragement are given to private individuals who wish to develop hovercraft themselves?

Photo of Dr Jeremy Bray Dr Jeremy Bray , Middlesbrough West

We are in close touch with a number of private organisations. One organisation which has recently gone in for development work is Hover Air. Indeed, a licence is being discussed with the National Research Development Corporation now.