HC Deb 05 March 1973 vol 852 cc25-6
27. Mr. Whitehead

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what approaches have been made to the United States of America concerning future collaborative aerospace projects involving developments of the RB211 engine.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

Rolls-Royce is constantly on the lookout for new applications for the RB211, and for opportunities for its further development, in America as in Europe and the rest of the world.

Mr. Whitehead

As the most recent overtures by Rolls-Royce to the United States manufacturers have been rebuffed, is it not time that we drew the lesson that these collaborative ventures with the United States do not work because of the stranglehold of the American manufacturers? Would it not be better if a further approach were to be made at Government level through our European partners in the European Economic Community and possibly the Japanese Government?

Mr. Heseltine

It is appropriate that the approaches should come from Rolls-Royce in the first instance, although I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's interpretation in the first part of his supplementary question.

Mr. Wilkinson

What indications does my hon. Friend have that the RB211 could have practical commercial applications in the non-aerospace field such as the powering of merchant vessels and perhaps military vehicles?

Mr. Heseltine

This is a matter for Rolls-Royce. Certainly no proposals have been put to me by Rolls-Royce. I will draw the company's attention to my hon. Friend's interest.

Mr. Palmer

Can the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that, in the event of these approaches being successfully taken up, work will be guided towards Bristol?

Mr. Heseltine

That again would be a matter for Rolls-Royce to decide.