HC Deb 14 October 1968 vol 770 cc15-6
23. Mr. McMaster

asked the Minister of Technology what approaches have been made to Her Majesty's Government with respect to the purchase of all or part of their shareholding in Short Brothers and Harland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Benn

As I informed the House on 6th February, 1968, the Rohr Corporation has expressed an interest in acquiring a shareholding in this company. There have been some exploratory discussions, but no firm proposal has yet been made. Should one materialise, the Government will, as I said in February, consider its implications carefully having regard to the long-term interests of the company.—[Vol. 769, c. 79.]

Mr. McMaster

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, but will he take particular care, in any negotiations with the Rohr company, that employ- ment interests should be protected in Northern Ireland, and particularly that the skilled craft design team of Short Brothers should not be broken up?

Mr. Benn

We shall obviously be guided by the interests of the company and the marketability of its products, and this would have a bearing on the employment aspect, which is very much in my mind anyway.