HC Deb 19 November 1962 vol 667 cc821-2
42. Mr. Stratton Mills

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will make a statement as to the replacement of the Beverley and Hastings aircraft.

Mr. Amery

As I told the House in the aviation debate on 18th July, 1962, the question of a replacement for the Beverley and Hastings aircraft is under consideration. This involves the study of a number of different projects as well as the possible harmonisation of the British requirement with that of other N.A.T.O. allies. A decision will be taken as soon as a full examination of all the implications can be completed.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that if another N.A.T.O. ally's plane is used it will at least be built in Britain?

Mr. Amery

I should be very surprised if anything other than what my hon. Friend suggests were done.

Mr. Edelman

Underlining the point made by the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills), may I ask whether the Minister will bear in mind that this matter affects not merely one particular locality but the whole of the British industry? In those circumstances, and whatever decision he makes, will he see that the work is equitably distributed throughout all those areas which are at the moment threatened with redundancy?

Mr. Amery

I will certainly have regard to what the hon. Member said.

Mr. McMaster

In view of the delay in reaching a decision on this matter, would my right hon. Friend consider placing an interim order so that planning can go ahead and there will be no unnecessary delay in replacing the old and ageing planes?

Mr. Amery

I do not think that it is possible to place an interim order until we have decided which design to go for.

Sir A. V. Harvey

While appreciating the difficulties in this matter, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend is aware that a decision is long overdue? Will he give an assurance that, whatever else is done, American aircraft will not be ordered to fulfil this requirement?

Mr. Amery

It is not in my hands to give an assurance as to the design eventually adopted. That is a matter for the Staffs concerned.