HC Deb 08 December 1965 vol 722 cc413-4
31. Mr. S. O. Davies

asked the Minister of Aviation what consideration the Government gave to the state of employment in the British aircraft industry before it decided to spend £180 million on United States F111 bombers.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

No decision to buy this aircraft has yet been taken. The need to maintain employment in the aircraft industry at a level adequate for our future needs will be taken fully into account.

32. Mr. S. O. Davies

asked the Minister of Aviation what is Government policy on the maintenance of a prosperous and progressive aircraft industry in this country.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I would ask my hon. Friend to await the publication of the Plowden Committee's Report and a statement of the Government's views on its recommendations.

Mr. Davies

Will my right hon. Friend be very definite about his plans as Minister of Aviation to see that the British aircraft industry in many parts of the country will be fully supported by work for British aircraft and that less work is given to countries overseas?

Mr. Jenkins

Yes, Sir, but having appointed a Committee which, for the last year, has worked on this problem and whose Report is already with me and will be before the country very soon, it would be quite wrong for me to make a general statement in this interim period.

Mr. Stainton

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House to what extent he has explored the possibilities of buying-back arrangements with U.S. manufacturers wherever the Government find it necessary to buy aircraft from America?

Mr. Jenkins

We have gone very carefully into the matter of reciprocal purchases to which we attach great importance.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Will the right hon. Gentleman take every step in his power to see that projects in which this country has a manufacturing interest receive just as much publicity from air correspondents as American projects to which they receive invitations for indoctrination?

Mr. Jenkins

Certainly we will endeavour to do that, but I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would not wish me to try to prevent air correspondents from going to America, or anywhere else, and writing about what they see.