HC Deb 27 April 1960 vol 622 cc209-10
42. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he proposes to compensate the De Havilland Aircraft Company for losses sustained by his decision to abandon Blue Streak; and to what extent.

The Minister of Aviation (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

Any payments due as a result of this change will be a matter for negotiation between my Department and the firms concerned in accordance with the terms of their contracts.

Mr. Rankin

That does not tell us very much, and I hope that in due course we shall hear more from the Minister about the extent of compensation. In the meantime, can he give us any idea of what the loss will be, in addition to the £65 million given by the Minister of Defence, on the run-down of this project, and can he say whether or not there will be compensation to the Australian Government? Also, will he tell us what attempt will be made to find other jobs for the 80,000 men who will be displaced as a result of the Government's foolish policy?

Mr. Sandys

The Question on the Order Paper deals with payments to the firms. I will deal with that. This is a matter which will have to be negotiated with the firms, and I do not think that it would very much help my negotiations if I were to forecast in advance what the outcome was likely to be.

Mr. Rankin

The right hon. Gentleman has some responsibility for the men because a political decision has been taken. In view of the unemployment which may be caused, will the Government accept responsibility for finding jobs for the men who will be displaced?

Mr. Speaker

This Question is directed specifically to compensation to the company. Nothing has happened which causes the other matters to arise.

Mr. Lipton

May we have an undertaking from the Minister that in due course the House will be told the amount spent from public funds by way of compensation?

Mr. Sandys

Of course.