HC Deb 01 December 1958 vol 596 cc812-4
2. Mr. Skeffington

asked the Minister of Supply if he has seen the statement made by the chairman of Fairey Aviation Ltd., that there may be a major redundancy in the works failing Government assistance; and whether he will make a statement.

7. Mr. Hunter

asked the Minister of Supply whether his attention has been drawn to the statement by the chairman of Fairey Aviation Limited, that the aircraft industry is facing a difficult situation, and there may be a major redundancy in the works, failing Government assistance; and what are his proposals for such assistance.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

I have seen the chairman's statement, and I am having discussions with the company about the future of the Rotodyne project.

Mr. Skeffington

Does not the Minister agree that it would be highly regrettable if the team of designers and craftsmen which succeeded in producing the machine which captured the international air speed record, the airliner with a vertical take-off, and which has done much development work on guided missiles, were allowed to break up through lack of finance? Is the Minister also aware that should redundancy occur in Hayes it would create much hardship in an area which has already experienced one major industrial reorganisation?

Mr. Jones

I am aware of the serious problem of the company, but I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not press me to comment on negotiations which are still in progress.

Mr. Hunter

In order to help the aircraft industry, in which the employees are facing heavy redundancy, will the Minister endeavour to assist this key industry in obtaining orders for civil aircraft in Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries?

Mr. Jones

I try to help as best I can, though, of course, the main effort must be made on the part of the firm.

Sir D. Campbell

Would not my right hen. Friend agree that all these Questions with regard to the future of the aircraft industry are fully covered by the Motion on the Order Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Mr. Farey-Jones)?

[That this House is of opinion that, in order to safeguard the future of the British aircraft industry and civil aviation generally throughout the Commonwealth. Her Majesty's Government should at the earliest opportunity make available to the aircraft industry the capital necessary to preserve within the Commonwealth and thereby to prevent their sale to foreign powers of certain outstanding new inventions in the field of aeronautics, which are of most vital and revolutionary importance in the development of aviation throughout the world and can, if maintained in the United Kingdom, safeguard a high and stable level of employment in the British aircraft industry fo many years ahead.]

Mr. Beswick

Are we to take it from the right hon. Gentleman's Answer today and from his previous Answer about the Rotodyne that it is his view that if an order were given for this aircraft it would solve the problem of redundancy in this firm, or is the right hon. Gentleman considering the troubles of the firm in relation to the contraction of the aircraft industry generally?

Mr. Jones

I think that the troubles of the company arise, in the main, from the general contraction of the industry, though, on the other hand, were an order to be secured for the Rotodyne project, which is the most promising project which the company has, the problem would, to some extent, be alleviated.