HC Deb 12 February 1973 vol 850 cc952-3
2. Mr. Walter Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what are the Government's plans for the future development of the British airframe industry.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

Announcements on specific policy developments have been made as they have arisen. I have at present nothing further to add.

Mr. Johnson

Will the Minister consider giving launching aid to the airframe industry, particularly to enable it to develop short-haul and vertical take-off aircraft? Is he aware that specialised Rolls-Royce design teams are leaving because of uncertainty in the industry?

Mr. Heseltine

I shall obviously consider any propositions that are put to me. At the moment there are two—the stretched Skyvan and the HS146. Until I receive propositions from the industry I cannot consider them.

Mr. Rost

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that every possible support will be given for the finding of alternative markets for the Rolls-Royce RB211 engine in a British airframe?

Mr. Heseltine

That is a matter for the manufacturers. I gather from conversations I have had that they are pursuing every outlet they can find.

Mr. Mason

Will the Minister say what finance the Government are giving to the development of short take-off and landing aircraft, particularly the HS146, and what importance they attach to this development?

Mr. Heseltine

At the moment the Government are not giving any support to the HS146 because the proposition has been put to them for consideration for support. We are now considering it and obviously an answer to the right hon. Gentleman's question will be more relevant when we have reached a decision on it.

Mr. Mason

Will the Minister explain therefore, if the Government are not at this stage financing the HS146, what short take-off and landing projects they are financing and to what extent they attach importance to this development?

Mr. Heseltine

The Government have not turned down any projects for short take-off aircraft. We have received one proposition from Hawker Siddeley—the HS146—which we are considering.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have a later Question—No. 28—about the HS146. Is it in order for the Minister to give an answer to that Question before it is reached?

Mr. Speaker

I hope that we shall reach the hon. Member's Question. Nothing has happened which is out of order.