§ 4 and 5. Mr. McMaster
asked the Minister of Technology (1) what progress 474 he has made with the financial reorganisation of Short Brothers and Harland; and if he will make a statement.
§ (2) what offer he has received from the Rohr Corporation in the United States of America for the purchase of the equity of Short Brothers and Harland; and what stage the negotiations have reached.
§ Mr. Benn
My officials met the Rohr Corporation for further exploratory talks on 18th October. I do not yet know when they will be ready to enter into firm negotiations. No firm proposal has yet been received from them. Meanwhile the Government have decided to defer action on the financial proposals put forward by the company's Board.
§ Mr. McMaster
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the great strain placed upon the board and management by the delay in the financial reconstruction? Is he also aware of the concern felt by the employees of Short Brothers and Harland, particularly as to the future of the design unit? Will he expedite a decision on these matters?
§ Mr. Benn
I am very well aware of those things. Although negotiations of this kind may well take some time, I should not want to see them delayed or prolonged longer than was necessary.