HC Deb 01 July 1971 vol 820 cc556-7
5. Mr. Edelman

asked the Secretary of State for Employment to what extent he estimates the decline in the number of people employed in the aerospace industry, 9,800 between March, 1970, and March, 1971, reflects a decline in production or an increase in productivity.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. David Howell)

It is probable that, for the aerospace industry as a whole, the decline in employment between March, 1970, and March, 1971, is a continuation of a trend which has been in evidence since 1968 and, in the period in question, is mainly due to a drop in orders on hand and the flow of net new orders.

Mr. Edelman

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that the viability of the whole aircraft industry depends on the viability of two very major projects, and in those circumstances will he not ask the Secretary of State to consult the Prime Minister with a view to setting up an inter-departmental committee to prepare contingency plans in the event of those projects being frustrated?

Mr. Howell

I will certainly bear in mind the major point which the hon. Gentleman made. As to his other suggestions, he can be assured that contingencies and difficulties and major problems in these two projects are constantly in the Government's mind.