HC Deb 05 May 1958 vol 587 cc822-3
5. Mr. Mason

asked the Minister of Supply to what extent the merger of Bristol Aero Engines and Armstrong Siddeley Motors measures up to his policy for integration of firms within the aircraft industry.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

It is my policy to encourage the industry to reshape itself into stronger units. The association between the Bristol Aero Engine and the Armstrong Siddeley Motor Companies is an important step in this direction, and I therefore warmly welcome it. I hope that it will lead to an even closer association between the two groups of companies concerned.

Mr. Mason

Could the Minister say to what extent he is encouraging further integration in the aircraft industry, and whether, following these measures, he anticipates a surplus of skilled labour, and whether the Government have any plans in mind for using this particular kind of skill?

Mr. Jones

I wish to see a greater degree of combination within the aircraft industry, and one purpose of such combination would be to eliminate redundant capacity with greater ease than would otherwise be possible, but I do not think the hon. Gentleman should blind himself to the need for some elimination of capacity.

Mr. Beswick

Is the Minister aware that, when the announcement of the merger was made, it was stated that it had taken place with the support of the Minister of Supply? Would the Minister be good enough to say what that "support" entails? Does it entail the guaranteeing of orders, and, if so, under what conditions?

Mr. Jones

I do not think I recollect the word "support". I would have thought that what was meant was that the merger had taken place with my approval. Both companies came to me and told me what it was they proposed to do, and, since it is desirable to reduce the number of management units in the industry, I welcomed the step.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the Minister consult the Minister of Education in regard to the deep concern felt by young people in choosing careers? What are the future prospects of careers in this industry, and will the right hon. Gentleman take early steps to consult his right hon. Friend on that aspect of the matter?

Mr. Jones

I am only too happy to try to answer the right hon. Gentleman's questions, but I must say that I see great difficulty in relating that subject to the original Question on the Order Paper.