asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much of the grant in aid made to the Engineering Council of £150,000 under section 6 of the Industry Act 1981 had been spent up to 31 December 1982; and if, in view of the transfer of 30 staff from the Council of Engineering Institutions to the Engineering Council, he will make additional finance available to the council.
I understand that by 31 December 1982 the Engineering Council had spent £499,000 of the £550,000 grant in aid which had been paid to it up until then. A further £182,000 was paid in January. Subject to Parliament providing the necessary funds, the Government are prepared to continue to help finance the council's initial running costs during its first three years.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Engineering Council, which was set up under the recommendations of the Finiston report, has made slow progress during the past two years? Does that not vindicate the view of many of us that there should have been legislation in the first place?
I am not so sure that I can agree with the hon. Gentleman's assertion that slow progress has been made. The first priority has been to secure the voluntary approval of the members of the engineering profession through the recent ballot. I am delighted that engineers nationally have endorsed the move towards certification. I shall consider the hon. Gentleman's comments, and it may be convenient if I write to him later this week.