HC Deb 06 May 1968 vol 764 cc6-7
3. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Technology what results he has achieved from the sum of £2½ million set aside by his Department to help machine toolmakers build for consignment stocks in the United Kingdom and oversea; what sums remain in the fund at 1st April, 1968; and whether he will make a statement concerning the future of the fund.

25. Mr. George Jeger

asked the Minister of Technology how many machine tool companies have joined the stockbuilding scheme up to 31st March; how much of the £2½ million allocated by him has been used for this purpose; and whether he will make a statement.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Technology (Dr. Jeremy Bray)

No fund was created. One proposal has been received and is being processed. The closing date for applications was 31st March, 1968. No expenditure will arise unless or until machine tools built for stock have to be sold at less than their value after the end of the disposal period on 31st December, 1970. Future estimates will take account of the actual contingent liability entered into under the scheme.

Sir G. Nabarro

Is not this one more example of unnecessary interference in the day-to-day processes of the engineering industry? Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that the machine tool trade, and notably its export divisions, does not require to be mollycoddled and wet-nursed by the Ministry?

Dr. Bray

There is no question of mollycoddling. The Ministry gives substantial asssistance to the machine tool industry in the pre-production order scheme and in other ways which is greatly appreciated by the industry, and without which it would not be as technically competitive.

Forward to