HC Deb 23 June 1965 vol 714 cc1745-6
23. Mr. Hamling

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will publish a White Paper enumerating all the projects of the aircraft industry in which public money was involved during the last 14 years, the extent of such involvements in each case, and the eventual fate of each project.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

No Sir. The information is not readily available, and could only be obtained by the expenditure of a disproportionate amount of time and labour.

Mr. Hamling

Is my right hon. Friend aware that he is too sensitive to the feelings of right hon. Gentlemen opposite? Is it not about time that the public realised the enormity of the scandal of the failure of this industry over the last 14 years?

Mr. Jenkins

I shall bear that in mind. As my hon. Friend is aware, in response to a request from my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) on 14th April I published a list of the cancellations and of the costs which had been involved.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that this is the one field in which the country can slash expenditure without hurting the living standards of ordinary people?

Mr. Jenkins

We have endeavoured, where we can, without damaging the legitimate needs of the Forces, to make all the economies that were possible.

Mr. Goodhew

Will the Minister offset some of the "knocking" of the aircraft industry by hon. Gentlemen opposite by telling us the export figures for the last five years?

Mr. Jenkins

I am not going to give those figures, which, I am afraid—as the hon. Gentleman knows if he follows these things—are not as healthy at the present time as I hope they will be in future, because I do not want to indulge in that "knocking" which has come far more from that side of the House than from this.