HC Deb 04 August 1965 vol 717 cc1668-9
5. Mr. Onslow

asked the Minister of Aviation how many technicians formerly employed in the British aircraft industry are known to have accepted employment overseas in the past nine months.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Those taking up employment abroad are not required to provide information about their prospective work to a Government Department. I am not therefore able to provide firm figures, but the indications are that the number is small.

Mr. Onslow

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the research conducted by the Royal Aeronautical Society suggests that about 30 per cent. of the most highly qualified persons who leave the aviation industry do so in order to emigrate? Would not the right hon. Gentleman accept that this is a matter of public importance and concern, and that a real effort should be made, either on his part or on the part of his colleague the Minister of Labour, to establish what effect cuts in the aircraft industry have had in accelerating the brain drain?

Mr. Jenkins

I agree that it is a matter of importance, but it is of equal importance not to see this issue out of perspective, as there has been some tendency to do. Our information is that the recent cuts may have led to five technicians emigrating from Preston, eight from Weybridge, and four from the Hawker Siddeley Group.