28. Mr. Edward M. Taylor
asked the Minister of Technology to what extent his sponsorship of the machine tool industry extends to British subsidiaries, fully owned or otherwise, of overseas principals; how many such subsidiary companies there are in this country; and what contacts he has with them.
§ Mr. Cousins
The answer to the first part of the Question is completely; to the second, that my Department has been able to identify 22 companies engaged in machine tool production in which there are overseas interests; and to the third that I have met representatives of a number of these companies and have been in correspondence with others.
Could the Minister say if in allocating or giving advice on Government contracts he gives preference to British-designed goods manufactured by British companies, as opposed to American-designed products manufactured under licence in Britain?
§ Mr. Cousins
To ask if one gives preferential advice and guidance is rather to suggest that one does not give the correct kind of advice to somebody if foreign capital is involved. We have discussed in the House on a previous occasion how one tries to determine what is foreign capital in view of the nature of the White Paper on investment policies carried out by major international companies. We would naturally prefer to support British firms, but this does not mean that we do not accept exclusions.