HC Deb 05 May 1965 vol 711 c1335
10. Mr. McMaster

asked the Minister of Aviation for how long he anticipates the present numbers employed by Short Brothers and Harland can be kept fully employed on existing contracts; and when he expects to be in a position to announce new orders for this company.

Mr. Stonehouse

We do not expect any significant fall in the numbers employed at Short Brothers and Harland during 1965. As for the longer term, we are urgently considering whether extra aircraft work can be obtained for this company, and the hon. Member will be aware that the possibilities of further diversification are being examined.

Mr. McMaster

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that he has been giving me answers of this sort for six months now? Is it not time some more definite plans were announced so that the employees of Short Bros. and Harland knew what the future offered?

Mr. Stonehouse

We have been giving the same answers for the last few months because we are consistent in this respect, that we are going to maintain the manpower at this firm during 1965. We are, of course, carrying out investigations for the long term. I do not wish to add to that at this stage.

Captain Orr

In view of the great anxiety that there is about this matter, can the hon. Gentleman say how long it will be before the consultants present their report?

Mr. Stonehouse

That is a question for the First Secretary of State, who is directly responsible for the appointment of the consultants.