Absolutely. My right hon. Friend met engineering institutions three times in January, four times in February and three times in March. I have also met many engineers at all levels of—
I was turning away, perhaps out of excessive politeness, to deal with my hon. Friend's question.
The results of yesterday's race at Imola, which Damon Hill won, and the fact that no fewer than nine of the 10 Grand Prix cars used were British-built by British engineering, shows the quality engineering that we have in Britain, which we should support.
Would the Minister like to astonish himself on one of the occasions when he or his newly found colleagues address the engineering institutions by recommending some way in which new jobs can be created in engineering so that we might begin to get back to the state in which we compete as engineers and do not have to import other people's goods?
I am afraid that the hon. Lady is behind the times. Manufacturing in this country has strengthened considerably in the past few years, particularly in vehicle manufacture, which she knows all about in her constituency. Engineering in Britain is on a high now. That is partly as a result of the interest of the Government and partly as a result of the inward investment that the Government have successfully encouraged in the past five or 10 years. The hon. Lady should come up to date.
Will my hon. Friend confirm that, as from next year, technology will be part of the national curriculum for all young people from five to 16 and that over the next three years the Government are committed to putting in an additional £10 million to top up bursaries for top-flight undergraduates studying technology?
Yes. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for those facts. The Royal Academy of Engineering is getting another £400,000 this year, which will bring up to £2.6 million the contribution that we are making to that body. As a result of science being in the school curriculum for the first time on a comprehensive basis, about 1.6 million pupils are now taking science subjects at GCSE level. That is more than double the figure of five years ago and is the result of the first group of children coming through the new science curriculum.