HC Deb 08 December 1965 vol 722 c396
7. Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

asked the Minister of Aviation what production orders he has placed for the maritime version of the Comet; and for how many.

19. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Aviation when he expects to place a firm order for the Maritime Comet, the P1127 and the Anglo-French Jaguar.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

The order for the Maritime Comet should be placed shortly subject to the successful completion of contract negotiations for full development and production. It is not the practice to disclose the size of military orders.

On the P1127, I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 24th November.

Preliminary work on the Anglo-French Jaguar is going ahead well, but we have not yet reached a stage when firm production orders can be placed.

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

Will the Minister press on with the orders? He will know that the British aircraft industry is in a parlous position and that this very day there has been an announcement that B.A.C. is to close its factory at Luton, causing about 1,850 employees to be thrown out of work. Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that it is most important that these aircraft orders should be placed at the earliest possible date?

Mr. Jenkins

It is important that firm orders should be placed when we have arrived at the right stage, but not before. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the numbers employed in the industry are still greatly in excess of those which were expected to be employed when the cancellation of the TSR2 was made.

Mr. R. Carr

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that these production orders are vital to the aircraft industry and that the Government will have had getting on for the best part of a year now to come to a conclusion?

Mr. Jenkins

That does not mean that a great deal of work has not been done on the P1127. A great deal is being done.

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