HC Deb 18 November 1974 vol 881 cc877-8
10. Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to receive the inspector's report on the affairs of the Court Line.

13. Mr. Madel

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to publish the report of his inspectors into the collapse of Court Line Ltd.

Mr. Shore

The inspectors are pursuing their inquiries energetically, but the investigation involves some 70 subsidiary companies and it is not possible to say when the report will be received or published.

Mr. Rooker

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that we should usefully use the time between now and publication of the report to ascertain whether the Leader of the Opposition has paid his bills for the October General Election, in case he gives the kiss of death to another troubled company in a year's time?

Mr. Shore

I leave that to the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Sedgemore

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the Government, in advance of the inspectors' report, have taken on board the lessons of this private enterprise collapse in relation to the need to strengthen employees' protection, the need to increase worker participation and the need to strengthen the rôle of the Civil Aviation Authority?

Mr. Shore

There are many lessons, some of which I hope we have already learned and some of which I hope we can apply towards giving greater security to holidaymakers in the future. But there is a great deal that we shall learn, and can only properly learn, when we get the full report into this complex matter.

Mr. Heseltine

Will the Secretary of State confirm that one lesson that we should learn is that Ministers should be very careful before making statements in the House about the viability of companies? Will he confirm that the inspectors will be deciding whether the evidence upon which the Secretary of State for Industry made his statement was adequate and available within his Department?

Mr. Shore

When the hon. Gentleman offers the advice that Ministers should be careful about making statements in the House, I must say that there is probably no one sitting on the Opposition Front Bench, even when it is full, who is less qualified than the hon. Gentleman to make such a comment. As for the other matters that the hon. Gentleman has raised, it is better indeed, now that we have thoroughgoing inquiries, to leave these matters until we have the results from people who are not seeking to make points but are seeking to establish the truth.

Back to