|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Yes, my Lords, I agree entirely. It is certainly the Government's strategy to relocate as far as possible those jobs, particularly in the Civil Service, which appropriately can move there. I believe that the House would recognise that much of the regeneration of the North West, in particular, has been aided by the relocation of government offices in that region.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My Lords, under the first round of the Micro Satellite Applications in Collaboration programme, known as MOSAIC, the Department of Trade and Industry is investing £15 million in partnership with industry. Those commitments cover three projects and run until 2005. Decisions on any further rounds of the MOSAIC programme will need to take account of evaluation of the first round projects and availability of funding in DTI.
I understand that the Natural Environment Research Council and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council are assessing a possible micro satellite project which they may propose for support if the DTI launches a second round of MOSAIC in due course.
Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, was it always envisaged that the MOSAIC programme would have an annual programme of support for those micro satellite exercises? Does he recognise that the first round had little real science in it? Will the Minister further confirm that the first round began some three years ago, and that MOSAIC is the UK's only national space programme? I hope that he will recognise how frustrating it is, both for the research councils he mentioned and for the scientists involved, that they are still having to wait for news from the Government as to whether there will be a second round. That does not seem a very satisfactory way of proceeding.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, perhaps I may deal shortly with all five questions. The answer to the first is "no": it was never envisaged, and never stated, that this was an annual programme. It was always envisaged that the programme would run until
Lord Tanlaw: My Lords, I declare an interest as chairman of the Astronomy and Space Environment Group. Will the MOSAIC satellite programme in any way interfere with radio-astronomy? A previous programme dealing with mobile phonesnot a British onewas susceptible to interference of that kind. Will the Minister take this opportunity to congratulate Professor Colin Pillinger and the British team working on the Beagle 2 Mars lander project, which he did a great deal to get off the ground? We wish the lander well on its arrival on Mars. However, it was all a bit lastminute.com. Perhaps in future there will be more composite and planned space efforts which will be more exciting, and, it is to be hoped, as successful as this one will be.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, so far as I know, none of the three projects funded in the first round of MOSAIC will interfere with radio-astronomy. I will certainly pass on the views expressed about Colin Pillinger. I have been congratulating him fairly steadily for the past three months on what I think is a superb project. It is a high-risk project, but is a brilliant piece of British science and engineering. There was a great deal of difficulty in funding the programme, because it arose very late in the dayit was put forward at the last minute due to the failure of the Russian mission, at a time when all the money from government had already been committed. It was therefore extremely difficult, and we had to take a very entrepreneurial view towards funding it.
Baroness Sharp of Guildford: My Lords, will the Minister confirm that the MOSAIC programme is an integral part of the European Space Agency programme? Will he further confirm that the funding that is currently available will be sufficient to finance the Earthshine programme, which is aimed at measuring solar emissions and energy reflected back to the Eartha project which is integral to our understanding of global warming?
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, noMOSAIC is an entirely British programme. It is not integral to the European programmes. As I said, we shall be considering in due course whether to fund a further round of MOSAIC projects. Only one of the satellites has been launched under the first group of programmes. We shall probably look at this matter
Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, is the Minister aware that all member states participating in the work of the European Space Agency spend more, as a proportion of their subscription to the ESA, than does the United Kingdom? Will the Minister confirm that only Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Norway spend less money on these programmes than does the United Kingdom? If the facts are as I have stated, how are they compatible with the statement often made by the Government that they intend the United Kingdom to be the leader in scientific research and development?
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I believe that those facts are broadly correct. That situation resulted from a considerable run-down of our space programme during the period under the previous government. We have not yet been able to increase the amount that has gone into the programme. We avoid some of the rather costly mistakes that have been made by other governments. We do not invest in launchers or in the international space station. As regards value for money in terms of achieving scientific, commercial and environmental objectivesthe three main objectives of our space programmewe are highly successful.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the Prime Minister did not say that it was a constitutional issue which made it necessary for us to have a referendum on the euro. I have been looking back over the Answers that I have given to the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, both in this Chamber and in writing. On 27th July 1999 I gave an Answer quoting remarks made by the Chancellor of Exchequer in October 1997, who said,
It is a fact that member states are not sovereign in areas where the Community has competence. This includes monetary policy aspects of EMU. But the pass was soldif I may use that pejorative phrasenot in 1997 or in 2003, but when the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community, at which time, without a referendum, it was recognised that member states are not sovereign in areas where the Community has competence.
Lord Taverne: My Lords, may I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, on finding a constitutional issue in the endless repetition of the mantra of the five tests which constituted the Chancellor's interview with David Frost on 18th May? Is not the real issue for the Government that further work on the euro should not be kept as a sacred preserve of the Treasury priesthood, which has been Euro-sceptic since the Common Market was founded, but should be much more open and a matter for the Government as a whole and the public as a whole?
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page