§ 4. Mr. Sumberg
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will ensure the continuation of the computer-aided design and test equipment support scheme after August.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. John Butcher)
No, Sir. The computer aided design and test equipment support scheme was closed in March of this year. There are no plans for its continuation.
§ Mr. Sumberg
I thank my hon. Friend for his reply. Is not the scheme's success reason enough to continue it? Is he aware that it is essential for the Government to support, especially in the north-west of England, schemes which will help companies to move into the new technology and away from the old?
§ Mr. Butcher
I appreciate the reasons for my hon. Friend's question, especially in the context of the northwest. However, at some stage we must decide, especially on cash-limited programmes, where pump-priming is legitimate and whether it should end if recovery begins to gather momentum, or whether the schemes should become permanent subsidies to underpin decisions which companies may already be tempted to make as part of their business plans. The shift of spending within the DTI is towards support for innovation programmes generally.