HC Deb 06 July 1970 vol 803 cc309-10
43. Mr. Carter

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will give an assurance that he will continue to use the powers of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation and the public funds at its disposal to strengthen British industry, in order to prevent encroachment by United States companies, particularly in the car industry and with reference to the only major British-owned group left.

Mr. Rippon

I am reviewing the future of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation and will make a statement in due course.

Mr. Carter

Does the Minister realise that the merger between the British Leyland Corporation and the British Motor Corporation is still at a very early stage of development and, given the war of competitive attrition promised by the Government, it could leave the only remaining British motor company in an extremely perilous state? Is he aware that the workpeople are waiting for the Government's word on this subject and await a very early reply?

Mr. Rippon

That is another question. I suggest that the hon. Member should put a Question in more specific terms.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Will my right hon. and learned Friend let us know as soon as possible how long a life he will give to the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation bearing in mind that unless this body knows how long it can operate on the present basis it will be very difficult for it to conduct business at all?

Mr. Rippon

I agree, and I have made clear to the Corporation that it can honour existing commitments but that it is to consult me before entering any new ones.

Mr. Heffer

In view of the fact that the right hon. and learned Gentleman failed to answer my previous question, and in view of the fact that the I.R.C. is definitely involved in the Cammel Laird decision, will he now answer the point I made in relation to the future of Cammel Laird? Will he give an assurance that the Conservative Government will continue the jobs of workers in Cammel Laird as bailed out by the Labour Government?

Mr. Rippon

That is another question. I suggest that the hon. Member should put it on the Order Paper.

Mr. Benn

Can the Minister tell the House by what statutory power he told the I.R.C. that it is not to operate without his consent?

Mr. Rippon

By the legislation which set the Corporation up.

Forward to