HC Deb 17 March 1965 vol 708 cc1265-6
25. Sir A. V. Harvey

asked the Minister of Aviation how much has been expended on research and development in respect of the 1154 and 681 types of aircraft.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

The best estimates that can be made at present are that total expenditures on the P1154 and HS681 are likely to be of the order of £25 million and £4 million, respectively. Development contracts for both aircraft are now in process of running down.

Sir A. V. Harvey

In view of that very unsatisfactory Answer, will the right hon. Gentleman consider, even at this late stage—and in view of the lead that the P1154 type of aircraft has in the world —keeping the nucleus of the design team on this project so that if our economy improves we can go ahead and catch up again, or even maintain the lead which we have today?

Mr. Jenkins

I explained in the debate we had a few weeks ago why we do not think it right to go ahead on this project. The fact that limited sums have been spent is no reason for spending additional sums on something which we do not think is well founded.

Mr. A. Royle

Can the Minister tell the House the exact cost of the 100 Kestrels with which it is intended to replace the P1154, and whether a firm order has now been placed for the Kestrels with the Hawker Siddeley group?

Mr. Jenkins

No, Sir. It is not the practice to disclose exact costs. We believe that it will be a very worth-while purchase, and we are proceeding to a position in which the firm can go ahead. The firm is in no way held up by lack of a firm order.

Mr. Maxwell

Does my right hon. Friend agree that if the former Administration had not dithered about the P1154 at the time, but had suported it with sufficient funds, there would be no question of needing to cancel it today?

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