HC Deb 11 July 1968 vol 768 cc716-7
13. Mr. Sheldon

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make a statement on the purchase of shares in Cambridge Instruments by the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation.

15. Mr. Barnett

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make a statement on the support given by the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation to assist George Kent Limited to take over Cambridge Instruments Limited.

Mr. Shore

I have nothing to add to the statement I made during Monday's debate.

Mr. Sheldon

As the views of the directors and shareholders concerned have been expressed either by voice or through their transactions in shares, does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is only right that the national interest should be heard and that that interest has been well-expressed by the operations of the I.R.C.? Will he convey the congratulations of many hon. Members to the I.R.C. for the way in which it has acted?

Mr. Shore

I thank my hon. Friend for that suggestion. I have made clear to the I.R.C. how much the Government appreciate the work which it is doing. After our debate last Monday, it will have realised that it even has the support of a number of hon. Members opposite.

Mr. Barnett

In view of the positive approach of the new managing director of I.R.C., arising out of this case, what discussions has my right hon. Friend had with his colleague the Minister of Technology about the workings of the Industrial Expansion Act? Does he now feel that it may not be as necessary to carry out some of the schemes envisaged in that Act?

Mr. Shore

My hon. Friend slightly misunderstands the rôles of the Corporation and the Act. The Industrial Reorganisation Corporation is concerned mainly with mergers, whereas the Industrial Expansion Act is concerned with projects which affect single firms. That is the distinction between them, but we are in close touch.