HC Deb 25 July 1956 vol 557 cc410-1
40. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Defence whether, in view of public disquiet as to the waste of public money in the aircraft industry, he will investigate the cost of designing, developing and producing aircraft for the three Services.

Sir W. Monckton

As I have already announced, I am looking into the arrangements for supplying the Forces with aircraft, and I will inform the House of the conclusions I reach.

Steps have already been taken to lighten the load on our resources, and I hope these will contribute to the end which both the hon. Member and Her Majesty's Government have in mind.

Mr. de Freitas

Will this really meet the point that there are at this moment inefficient firms which are kept going through public money, at great cost not only to the Exchequer but also to the efficiency of other firms which are really doing the work?

Sir W. Monckton

I should not like to make a general answer to that. I am aware that there are great differences, and in lightening the load we shall be able to take advantage of that.

Mr. Stokes

Has the Minister paid any attention to what I said to him in February this year? I then asked whether he had made any investigation into the then declared statement that of 166 projects started in the last ten years we had sunk more than £1,000 million in unsuccessful aircraft, and only eight projects had been successful. Surely there is something wrong with that.

Sir W. Monckton

I do not recollect the figures which the right hon. Gentleman gave me upon that occasion. What I said today was that steps have been taken to reduce the number of projects, and I think that that is the right course to take.

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