HC Deb 01 February 1967 vol 740 cc480-1
6. Mr. Onslow

asked the Minister of Aviation what recent statistics he has concerning the brain drain from certain important aircraft firms.

Mr. Stonehouse

I am obtaining statistics for the year 1966 from the main firms in the aircraft industry. I have also today received from the Society of British Aerospace Companies the results of their inquiry of what happened in 1966. My Department is studying these figures and until this has been done I would prefer not to comment further.

Mr. Onslow

Is the Minister's intention to challenge the figures which have been submitted by the S.B.A.C.? On what basis did he challenge the figures sent to him by the Action Committee for European Aerospace?

Mr. Stonehouse

I would prefer to have a close look at the figures which have been provided before I give a report to the House.

Mr. Rankin

From what he has seen so far, is my hon. Friend impressed by the serious nature of the figures which ought to be in his possession from the Society of British Aerospace Companies? Does he realise that the brain drain is taking place not only from Britain, but within Britain?

Mr. Stonehouse

I am concerned about the figures which have been provided so far, and I can give an assurance that in the Ministry of Aviation and the Ministry of Technology we will take a very serious view of this in the future and see what can be done about it. As in the last few weeks we have been able to announce new projects proceeding, which will ensure that the design team lead remains in the United Kingdom, there is not so great a need to be fearful as there has been.

Mr. R. Carr

In view of the vital national importance of this matter, would the Minister consider the possibility of taking the initiative and making a statement to the House, rather than force us to wait what may be a very long time before he is in the firing line of Questions again?

Mr. Stonehouse

I will consider the best way of making this information available to the House.