§ 14. Mr. Marten
asked the Minister of Technology if he is satisfied with the apportionment of Governmental support 399 as between Great Britain's scientific and commercial space efforts; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Marten
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the growing feeling that not enough encouragement is being given to the commercial aspect of space and that it is from the commercial aspect that the real dividends will be paid to the people of this country? Would it not be better if we had one Minister in charge of space?
§ Mr. Benn
The difficulty about the hon. Gentleman's argument is that, short though it was, it internally contradicted itself. If it is the commercial aspect which matters, obviously the Post Office, which is a user of the satellites, should have a very large part to play in the development of Government policy; and similarly defence and other users should as well. This is the difficulty about the hon. Gentleman's argument—that if we attach it to the users of space this operates against the idea of a central Minister, exactly as we do not have a Minister in charge of land, in charge of the sea, or in charge of the sea bed.