HC Deb 08 December 1965 vol 722 cc401-2
15. Mr. McMaster

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will make a statement on the allocation of the final sub-contract work on the Phantom and Lockheed C130E, which is to be placed with the British aircraft industry.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Not yet, Sir. For some of the outstanding items, tenders are still being assessed and for other the closing date for tenders has not yet been reached.

Mr. McMaster

Is the right hon. Gentleman fully aware of the urgency of this problem? Unless these decisions are taken quickly, key personnel, particularly design staff, will drift away from the industry and in many cases go abroad, so that no matter which decisions are taken ultimately, it may become impossible for the British aircraft industry to retain the important technological position which it has held? Will the right hon. Gentleman bring forward these decisions and announce them to the country and the aircraft industry as soon as possible?

Mr. Jenkins

The hon. Member went very wide indeed with that supplementary question. I do not think that all those issues are involved in the amount of subcontracting work on the Phantom and Lockheed C130E. On this narrower point, we have made good progress—at least as good as was expected. Short Bros, have a contract, and I hope that it is possible that they may even get some more work.