Adecision on whether to axe the Department of Trade and Industry’s Civil Aerospace Research and Technology Demonstration programme (Carad) has been put back a month, the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) said this week.
Trade secretary Stephen Byers will decide the fate of the programme by the middle or end of February.
The delay has heightened fears that Carad may be cancelled as an awkward anomaly within the DTI, despite last year’s high-profile campaign to persuade former trade secretary Peter Mandelson to keep it going.
Carad is an R&D programme which costs £22m a year. ‘UK public investment in aerospace research and technology development is proportionately the lowest in Europe,’ said a SBAC spokesman.
The SBAC is urging supporters to lobby the Government to keep Carad.
* More than 200 defence firms will be asked to complete a technology questionnaire as part of an initiative to establish a national defence industry strategy.
The initiative, launched this week by industry minister John Battle, will be funded 50-50 by industry and government.