HC Deb 05 May 1965 vol 711 cc1337-8
17. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he will now disband the committee of inquiry into the aircraft industry presided over by Lord Plowden.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

No, Sir.

Mr. Goodhart

Now that the British aircraft industry has been cut so savagely would it not be more logical to curtail the work of this Committee to avoid wasting the time of the distinguished gentlemen involved?

Mr. Jenkins

No. I think that is a complete misapprehension. On the contrary, if we had gone ahead with all the projects we inherited, the aircraft industry would have been frozen roughly at its present shape and size till 1970 and then there would have been very little to inquire into. Furthermore, there is no question of cancellations prejudging the work of the Plowden Committee. As the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude) will remember, when I announced the appointment of the Com- mittee I gave a specific undertaking that decisions would not be held up pending the report of the Committee.

Mr. David Price

Would the right hon. Gentleman tell us when he expects the Plowden Committee to finish its work, and whether he will publish its report when it is available?

Mr. Jenkins

I expect the Plowden Committee to complete its work some time in the autumn—as early in the autumn as possible. My position about publication is the same as when I announced the appointment of the Committee. My desire is to publish everything it is possible to do without prejudicing the Committee in obtaining evidence which it could not otherwise obtain.