HC Deb 21 May 1975 vol 892 cc1547-77

10.29 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. Michael Meacher)

I beg to move, That this House authorises the Secretary of State to pay or undertake to pay sums by way of financial assistance under section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 in respect of a guarantee or guarantees to be given to the bankers of British Leyland Motor Corporation Limited and any of its subsidiaries covering borrowing facilities made available by the bankers to those companies, insofar as the amount paid or undertaken to be paid under the guarantee or guarantees is in excess of £50 million, being the maximum amount authorised by resolution of this House on 18th December 1974, but does not exceed £100 million. We have had a full debate on the Bill which enables the Government to acquire a substantial share in the enlarged equity of the company—a Bill which the House has approved. I do not intend to rehearse the arguments.

The House is aware from what my right hon. Friend said that these arrangements will take some time to implement. The motion now before the House is to increase the guarantees to British Leyland's bankers. It is essentially an interim arrangement to meet British Leyland's requirements while the longer-term scheme and the steps necessary for its implementation are considered by the various parties concerned.

This is necessary because the company accepts that the facilities authorised under the order approved by the House on 18th December will be fully utilised by the beginning of next month. The need for this interim measure does not mean that British Leyland's position is suddenly worse than expected: it is simply to meet the requirements of the business in carrying on normal trading until the arrangements under the Bill have been completed.

10.31 p.m.

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

It might come as a shock to some of my hon. Friends to realise that that incredibly brief speech was to ask the House to approve £50 million. It is a measure of the inflation that has hit the Government's spendings that £50 million is dismissed in such an abrupt way.

It will be clear that we have the most substantial reservations about the proposals that the Government have put before the House in the British Leyland Bill. If we had any lingering doubts about those reservations they would hardly have been removed by the Under-Secretary of State's speech.

The Government seek to claim that we are dealing with the first part of the regeneration of British industry, but on Second Reading every time that the Under-Secretary of State was questioned on any particular aspect of the Government's proposals he immediately ducked away and said that it was merely a proposal in the Ryder Committee's Report. The Government appeared to be disowning it. That is the appalling way in which the Secretary of State originally presented the Bill. He suggested that it was the Government's adopted proposal and subsequently the Under-Secretary of State did everything he could to disown it. After that speech, and reports of that speech, it would not be surprising if a letter came from Downing Street to the effect "Come back Eric, all is forgiven."

We now move from the Bill to consideration of this important motion for further guarantees to cover £50 million. About the only fact that the Under-Secretary of State gave was that the company's facilities will run out at the beginning of next month and that the money is needed unless other action is taken. The money is essential to provide bridging finance until the more permanent arrangements envisaged in the Bill can take effect or until more sensible policies can be evolved.

It will be well known to those hon. Members who were present—my right hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) made this clear—that we have opposed the proposals contained in the Bill in the strongest possible terms. However, we think it right to let this motion proceed, as it is essential.

The Under-Secretary of State has tried to suggest that the Ryder Committee had considered all the options that were open. The fact is that it did not. It considered a number of different aspects, but the first basic assumption was that Government money would be available. The committee was required to advise how much Government money was needed. That was a fundamental assumption and there were a number of different options that should have been considered.

The committee was also advised by the Government—dangerously advised, as some of my hon. Friends would believe—as to what the rate of inflation might be. When the Government came forward with the original proposal my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) said that we should give them time to consider their longer-term proposals. It is clear that time has been lost. We must accept that fact. We believe that time has largely been wasted and that the alternative strategies open to British Leyland have not been considered.

There is obviously an urgent need for a more realistic approach to this problem. The Minister tried to suggest that all the criticisms of Ryder had come from the Opposition benches, but I thought that one of the most constructive speeches made in the debate came from the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Huckfield), who blew hole after hole in the Ryder Report and in the assumptions on which it was based. A summary of his speech could only be that he challenged the total conclusions reached by the Ryder Report.

In this situation we believe that alternative proposals must be considered urgently. We do not accept the Secretary of State's suggestion that it is impossible to get any forms of undertaking or assurance from union leaders. I regard that attitude as a gross insult to many responsible union leaders who in serious situations are prepared to enter into assurances. Of course we accept that there are problems. The unions have not the power to control their members, but it is palpably unsound that they should not attempt to try to get reasonable assurances and undertakings on matters such as overmanning.

We believe that the matter must be looked at seriously, that it should be urgently considered now, and that we should try to produce what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition described as a recipe for success, and not the present formula with all the appalling risks inherent in it.

I accept that there are divided views among hon. Members about the situation on this order. I accept that it is a finely balanced judgment. I accept that many of my hon. Friends feel that a receiver at that stage would be the correct policy. That is a view I recognise and many of my hon. Friends have misgivings about the situation, including my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley). However, I do not believe that that is the best policy in this situation. One cannot ignore the impact which that policy would have on the profitable parts of the company—on Austin-Morris and on the world-wide reputation of Jaguar, Rover and Triumph and the other component parts of the whole organisation—but also the effect which it would have on the supplier companies and the difficulties which would thus be created.

The present situation is different from the situation that existed at the time of Rolls-Royce, because there is now a more difficult economic climate—and there is the uncharming thought that this might force many of the component-supplying companies into the unwelcome arms of the Secretary of State for Industry. There is also a real risk to the distribution network of British Leyland—a valuable asset of the company and one which many other competitors would like to obtain. I believe that the disruptive involvement at this stage caused by bringing in a receiver in a complicated situation might mean that the immediate beneficiaries are likely to be Messrs. Datsun and Renault. We must instead see that the time available is used to make an urgent and much more realistic appraisal of the alternatives.

The Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn)

I am grateful to the hon. Member for explaining the Opposition's view. May I take it from what he said that the Shadow Cabinet, under its new Leader, now explicitly rejects receivership as the right solution to this problem, given the fact that the guarantees in this order, while allowing more time for consideration, do not leave open receivership as a viable proper course for the Government to pursue? In other words, are we to take it that the new Shadow Cabinet, under its new Leader, has rejected Selsdon policies and is adopting the view put forward by the hon. Gentleman?

Mr. King

That is what I said about this order, at this time and in this situation.

I now come to a further reason why this situation is especially applicable. I refer to the alternative to a receivership. Many of my hon. Friends feel that not a penny more should be put into this industry, and that receivership is the correct action to take. [Interruption.] I say this to my hon. Friends who are now cheering loudest.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Myer Galpern)

Order. It is the custom for hon. Members to address the Chair—not the Deputy Serjeant at Arms.

Mr. King

I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if you were feeling neglected in this situation.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I was unable to determine whether or not the hon. Member was in order. That is all.

Mr. King

I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker. No discourtesy was intended.

I referred to the question whether any further money should be put into British Leyland. My hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury pointed out that if a receiver were appointed it might be necessary to provide further money to enable the receiver to discharge his functions. This is not a clear-cut situation of saying "From this moment no further money will be provided."

We are now facing an order for £50 million to allow time for urgent and more realistic consideration of the British Leyland situation. We are two weeks away from the referendum. We do not know what the situation will be after that referendum, the state of the economy, the position of the Secretary of State for Industry, or the Government's plans in respect of other matters. We do not know whether economic circumstances will compel the Government to abandon some of their policies. We do not know when the responsibility to face the situation might return—it may be sooner than Government supporters realise—to the present Opposition.

We believe that it is right to allow this order to proceed now, but only on the clear understanding that a much more realistic approach is taken to the British Leyland problem than is contained in the Ryder report.

Mr. Benn

It is important that we should understand exactly what is the Opposition view. Have the Shadow Cabinet and the Shadow Law Officers given consideration to the impact of their support for this order, which is a guarantee of £50 million, under Section 332 of the Companies Act, in so far as it might commit the Government to a responsibility, in the event of the Opposition later changing their mind and saying that the company should go into a receivership?

Mr. King

I am not clear why the Secretary of State made that intervention. There is no difference between this occasion and the time when the matter was discussed on a previous order.

The Secretary of State seems to be trying to exploit this situation, in the present uncertain economic situation and during a period immediately prior to the referendum. We do not even know whether we shall have the pleasure of the company of the Secretary of State afterwards. Circumstances may change.

However, while recognising that the appointment of a receiver might cause problems, and acknowledging the strength of feeding and the validity of the arguments of many of my hon. Friends, on balance we feel that it is right to let this order proceed tonight.

10.45 p.m.

Dr. Rhodes Boyson (Brent, North)

Some of us feel strongly about the order—enough to vote against it—because we do not like the inverted funnel syndrome: that once money is put into something it is in there permanently because, as it goes down, the funnel gets wider and takes more in. I advise the Minister to study the inverted funnel syndrome. Once Government money goes in, more pours in because it is said that, having put in £10 million or £25 million, more must go in or we shall lose what we put in at the beginning. For every penny that goes in, hundreds, thousands, millions, even billions of pounds of inflated money go after it.

There are two reasons for British Leyland's present state. One is the result of Government intervention. The other is the worship of size which swept the country as a fashion in 1968. For example, we had huge tower blocks, large comprehensive schools, huge local government reorganisation—[Interruption.] It does not matter who did it. It is either right or wrong. I am saying that it is wrong. There are free men on this side of the House. We have free thoughts.

When any Government come into industry it means that politicians and civil servants make decisions, but they do not suffer when they are wrong. Dr. Johnson said that hanging concentrated the mind. I trust that none of us experience that concentration. But the risk of losing one's own money concentrates the mind in a way that no civil servant or politician making his decision does, because somebody else suffers, not him.

I suffered in education from local and national government decisions. The parents of the children in schools, not the politicians, have to pick up the pieces.

The £25 million put into British Leyland in 1968 by the IRC began to take the company away from a genuine market. Having got £25 million from the Government, it was known that more would be coming. It is a tap which can be turned on. Having corrupted people in that way, they will come back for more like Oliver Twist. Unlike Oliver Twist, they will get more each time they come back.

Under the Conservative Government we saw a similar situation with Upper Clyde and Rolls-Royce. Businessmen began to think that if they made losses there was no need to worry, they would be able to stay on the boards of their companies, because the Government would bail them out.

Another result is unrealistic wage claims. Every man wants the most that he can get to take home because he wants the maximum standard of living. That is his right. People know that they can make vast pay claims and not bankrupt companies and become unemployed because the Government will bail them out. I suggest that they will continue to do that in the light of present policies.

Whatever the Prime Minister said at a banquet last night, the Chrysler workers know better. They know that if money goes to British Leyland, it will also go to Chrysler. The Government should learn from Theodore Roosevelt—talk softly and walk with a big stick. But the Government appear to be talking loudly and walking with a little stick.

The Economist states that one in six cars produced by British Leyland in the last six years has been lost by strikes. There again the Government have bailed out the company. If the Government are prepared to undertake bailing out operations, why should not a man take a day off if it is fine and sunny and he has a 10-pole allotment to tend? Men will take the initiative in that way if the Government are foolish enough to encourage them to do so.

What can we do? First, not pay the money. Suggestions have been made by my hon. Friends that a receiver should be brought in. The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) last week said that bankruptcy is part of the capitalist society. I believe that is so. The trouble is that this country wants heaven without hell. We cannot have it. That is why the Church of England is empty. We must pay the price for everything. The price for capitalism is bankruptcy. The price for Socialism is a totalitarian society, whether we like it or not.

It seems better to accept the price of bankruptcy than the price of a totalitarian society which, in the ultimate, is what the Labour Party offers. If the receiver had moved in, various parts like the truck and bus division would have continued profitably and would have moved on their own. Possibly some of the other parts would have been picked up. Even Aston Martin found a buyer after being in the market for long enough.

Eventually the rest of the industry—the machine tool industry and the other related concerns which make the parts—would have moved of their own accord. I am amazed at the lack of belief in the ingenuity of the working class of this country on the Labour back benches. They must always, it seems, be led by the hand. They cannot find the ingenuity or the initiative to think for themselves. Are we to believe that the Midlands tool industry, which made its name in the nineteenth century, is so lacking in initiative that if it lost the work from British Leyland it could not find more work elsewhere? If it could not find other work it would not deserve to survive.

I was told by a distinguished professor last week that it was the cut-back in the aircraft industry that brought together the team that has produced the advanced passenger train. That is an example of what these people can move on to. They will not throw their initiative and skill into the Thames, they will take it and use it elsewhere.

If we agree to the order tonight, under the interesting prospect of the inverted funnel syndrome more money will go in. I remember as a boy that my grandmother had a mangle. I trust that hon. Members know what a mangle is. I sometimes wish that I could put Labour Members through it, but I realise that that is completely uncharitable. It was explained to me that this mangle turned only one way, and if my finger was put into it the only way to get it out was by continuing to turn the mangle until I had gone right through. That, basically, is what we are doing now with this money. The wheel is like that of the mangle and more money will be taken in. Once turned in one direction it will never come back again. If British Leyland is to feed at the public feeding trough, Chrysler and everyone else will join them there.

Do we believe that turning out cars in this way is an economic form of production? Fifty per cent. of British Leyland's cars are exported and they must be made and sold at the right price in the right place if the standard of living of the car workers is to be maintained at the right level. I sometimes wonder whether Labour Members want us to be like the Cambodians, each with a 5-pole allotment on which to make a living, each of us knowing we are equal at the bottom.

While preparing for my speech tonight I was reminded that in 1830 at the time of the Poor Law—and these measures are the Government's new form of Poor Law—men were given work on hand loom weaving. They were paid very little for it. Hand loom weaving was out of date. The products could not be sold. They had to be given away to the old ladies. The factories were coming equipped with the new machines, and hand loom weaving was done only by the men on outdoor relief. The Government are doing the same here. They are giving outdoor relief on old-fashioned, vintage cars.

It would be a good thing for this country to take a ride back to reality. Any party which adopted that course would draw great support from the entire country. We realise that the social contract is the emperor with no cloches. There is all this talk of industrial democracy, but people do not know what to do with industry. With all the committees which have been set up—seven or eight of them, I believe—there is so much activity in that direction that there is no time to work. In view of the source of our external debts it may be apposite to say that we are not living in the Arabian Nights. We are living in Arabian day dreams, and I trust that by voting against this order we may move a little nearer to a sense of reality.

10.55 p.m.

Mr. A. G. F. Hall-Davis (Morecambe and Lonsdale)

We are being asked to approve this motion so that British Leyland may continue its operations for some weeks further. I should like to ask the Minister three simple and direct questions to which I hope he will give answers before he comes back with a request for more money to sustain the company in operation.

The first question is whether it is the intention of the Government, in the period in which this interim support is available, to give information to this House which will enable it to form a proper opinion on the validity of the recommendations contained in the Ryder Report. I submit that the essential information on which a judgment can be formed by this House has been omitted from the Ryder Report. There are no fewer than five chapters—and in my view the five most vital chapters—that have been censored from that report. I looked through them one by one, and when I came to chapter 11, in the summary, and saw "Controls and systems", I thought that here at least, in this general field of management technique, we would have some interesting comment which might help us to judge whether the taxpayers' money was being properly accounted for. Chapter 11 reads: [This Chapter describes and assesses the management controls and systems operated within BL and is omitted for reasons of commercial security.] In this House we exercise, and have the responsibility for exercising, the ultimate judgment in these matters, and I was appalled by the response of the Under-Secretary in his reply at the close of the earlier debate, when all he could say was that this is not the Government's report, this is the Ryder Report.

In my humble back-bench capacity I believe that I was sent to this House by my constituents to say whether I disagree with the good and the great. I was not sent here to accept a report on the nod of the Government, without being given sufficient information to enable me to exercise what judgment I possess concerning the validity of the report.

I believe that much of the conclusions in those five chapters in the Ryder Report could have come to this House and to the country, and that there is some risk that there might be marginal damage to the commercial interests of British Leyland. It is highly arguable whether there would be but I accept that there might be marginal damage to the commercial interests of British Leyland. I am sure that if that information is not made known in this interim period, and before the House really commits itself in the way that my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson) outlined to us, there is a real risk, if we cannot examine and debate those fundamental elements, that there will be major damage to the whole economy of the country resulting from a grave misdirection of investment resources.

If the information is not to be provided, and the Government stick to what I believe to be their wrong policy of accepting without question the recommendations of the Ryder Committee that this information should be omitted, I ask the Under-Secretary to give the House an assurance that before he comes back to us for more money we shall be given the judgment and the commitment of those who are to carry the can for this operation. By that, I do not mean the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State bungled this operation once before in 1968. It is true that he is having a second stab at it now. But I am certain that he will not be in a position where he will be called upon to answer for the success of what he is recommending now in four or five years. I can think of many things which may have happened to him, but I guarantee that the likelihood is that he will not be answering the questions of hon. Members from the Treasury Bench.

The people from whom I want a judgment and a commitment are those who will constitute the board of directors of the company and who will be responsible for seeing it through the next difficult years. What worries me is that the only people appointed to that board will have given a prior commitment to accept the premise outlined in the Ryder Report. That would be the gravest disservice that the Government could do this House.

Before we are requested to support the voting of more money, therefore, ask that the Government give the board of directors an opportunity to give this House the benefit of its judgment and its commitment to the fact that it has a sporting chance of success, and that the Government will give an assurance, before asking for more money, that there will not be a series of unquestioning yes-men appointed to the board of British Leyland in the months ahead.

Finally, when the Government return at the end of this interim period asking for more money, I hope that they will have done as regards the trade unions and employees of the company what the Secretary of State has been advocating up and down the country in recent months, namely, that the Government, the Secretary of State and the board of British Leyland will have told their employees the true implications of the report and recommendations of the Ryder Committee. It is ludicrous that the Secretary of State should pay lip-service to full disclosure to employees of matters vital to their future interests and that the very matters which are vital to their future interests should be deleted from the report, with the agreement of the Government. I shall place great weight on the reaction of the employees of British Leyland to the prospects ahead for that company when they have been told the truth about what lies ahead of them.

When we are being asked to vote an initial sum for only a very short period—it will run out in terms of days in the general vista of the length of this report—I believe that the Government have no case for sitting back and doing nothing. There is far too much still to be told about what lies ahead for British Leyland. I hope to be assured that my reasonable requests will be met before the Government come back for more money.

11.4 p.m.

Mr. Richard Wainwright (Colne Valley)

My brief task in explaining the Liberal intention, which was made clear earlier, of dividing the House on this order has been made very much easier by the brilliant speech of the hon. Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson). Nevertheless, I want briefly to explain the reasoning behind the intention which we made clear earlier.

It is really not worth while addressing any substantial list of questions to the Treasury Bench, because the Under-Secretary demonstrated in replying to the earlier debate that he and his right hon. and hon. Friends have become so inured to responding only to force—the force of Meriden, force on the docks, force in the mines and force from Mr. Scanlon—that the only way to get an answer of any kind from them is to squat or stand in this House for 53 minutes, as the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) did.

I am coming to admire the hon. Gentleman's capacity for abusing the time of the House. At least today he succeeded in getting some gesture from the Treasury Bench. However, other contributions which may have been slightly more precise were passed over in studied silence, especially the point on which we Liberals feel very deeply and to which there has been no reference except an extraordinary admission by the Secretary of State that the House is passing the initial stages of £1,400 million of taxpayers' money or "borrowing" money without any capital budget whatever embracing the overall needs of British industry.

All that the Secretary of State said today was that the Government had not got around to budgetary control—would you believe it?—because they had not got the time or the leisure—using his words—to sit back to compile such budgets. Any business man, even of the smallest character, listening to the Secretary of State saying that Her Majesty's Government, with thousands of civil servants of the highest quality, could not compile a budget—we know that they have to be revised as things go along, and we are not asking for the Tablets of Stone—would find that an appalling admission. I hope it will haunt the political career of the Secretary of State—during its remaining 14 days.

I put one question to the Under-Secretary. He made great play of this matter, as indeed did his Prime Minister, to whom occasionally he pays a passing tribute in Committees as being a minor figure in the Government. The Under-Secretary repeated the absurd legend, for which there is not a word of warrant in the Ryder Report, that 1 million jobs are at stake in this debate for which the Government have given such inadequate preparation tonight. In spite of my not going on for the whole of 53 minutes, I hope the Under-Secretary will answer this question.

The figure of 1 million jobs, on his own admission, depends upon bringing into the computation all the employees of the automotive components industry. From what major units of that industry have the Government received representations supporting the nationalisation of British Leyland? If the hon. Gentleman can read out a letter from Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds saying that the whole future for its industry depends upon this vote tonight, or if Lucas or Dunlop have told him that the motion is essential to the preservation of their work forces, we shall listen with respect. I hope that he will tell us what he has heard from the industry, which we all want to preserve and which I believe can look after itself.

As regards the hon. Gentlemen who are to join Liberal Members in the Lobby—

Mr. Nigel Lawson (Blaby)

You are joining us.

Mr. Wainwright

Let us leave the nursery school for the present, because accommodation there is very crowded. The point is that although my hon. Friends voted against the Conservatives' Industry Act and have often criticised it as being a charter for nationalisation, the Act has the one redeeming feature that it makes it necessary for the Government to come to the House for approval of a motion such as that which is before us. So, one up for the Conservatives' Industry Act. We shall rejoice in using one piece of this mechanism in a few minutes' time.

The hon. Member for Brent, North exposed in a brilliant way, for which I am full of envy, the cringing and timid attitude of his own Front Bench. To suppose for a moment that approval of the motion is required in order to keep British Leyland alive until the Conservative Front Bench rescues it, and that the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior), with his detailed knowledge of turnips and fish, will stride into British Leyland and rescue it as a result of it having survived nationalisation, is the most awful supposition.

I offer only two reasons. I do not want to deprive the Lobby of one hon. Member tonight. Is the Tory Front Bench seriously supposing that now that the nationalisation Bill has received a Second Reading, by a deplorably substantial majority—a tender subject which I shall not press—the banks in this new situation would now want to foreclose on British Leyland? The prospect is too absurd.

Mr. John Biffen (Oswestry)

I am much entertained by the hon. Member's speech. Can we conclude that he agrees with us that receivership is the desirable policy in these circumstances?

Mr. Wainwright

If the hon. Member, with his customary diligence, which I am sure was honourably employed elsewhere, had been in the Chamber this afternoon after the 53 minutes of his right hon. Friend, he would have heard why we do not go along completely with his solution. I made our position clear earlier today.

The second conclusive reason that the Conservative Front Bench are showing an absurd degree of humbug is that the whole of the Ryder plan which we are being asked to trigger tonight is for capital spending, and their pretence that they are graciously allowing some revenue overdraft to be extended is miles from the truth. We are being asked to support a great programme of capital expenditure, which the Liberals believe is wholly misdirected. We therefore intend to vote against the motion.

Mr. Tom King

Since the hon. Gentleman accused us of humbug, would he tell us his wonderful solution? If he is opposed to receivership but will oppose the order, he must be realistic. He cannot have it both ways. What would he do?

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Myer Galpern)

Order. The Chair made a mistake. I thought that the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) was giving way. But he is not responding, so he must have finished.

11.12 p.m.

Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn (Kinross and West Perthshire)

We are being asked to approve an order which fines every man, woman and child in the United Kingdom £1 a head to sustain for one day more an organisation which was brought into being by an absurd Civil Service fantasy and which was never likely, as a result of Government intervention, to be viable. Whatever the objective, that is the price.

For too long, this country has based its philosophy upon the fantasy that if one runs into difficulties, one has only to pass the problem to a board, a commission or art extension of the Civil Service and obtain Government money. Governments are regarded as God is to man, as a source of genius, of finance, which is infinite. But not at all. Governments steal all the money that they spend, they borrow all the brains that they have, and they use neither as well as either is used outside. It is merely postponing our problems to imagine that a problem is solved by being put into the hands of Government.

The National Enterprise Board is intended to create and make more efficient an internationally competitive British industry. The purpose of this motion and all that flows from it is to ensure that an inefficient and uncompetitive part of British industry is perpetuated. That is the purpose of the expenditure. There is not a word in the report to suggest that this expenditure will make British Leyland more efficient. All that it will do is to sustain it artificially in surroundings in which it cannot survive naturally.

The Ryder Report is based on a number of preposterous fantasies and was prepared horribly, as all reports seem to be nowadays, with a sort of sycophancy which requires the author of the report to write a report which will find favour with the Government of the day. This absurd course is based on two already out of date fantasies. One is that inflation will be brought into check—something which it is certain the Labour Party is determined it shall never be. The second fantasy is based on the belief that for some extraordinary reason the world will start buying more motor cars and will desire efficient and well-run British Leyland motor cars rather than those terrible broken-down Mercedes, Alfa Romeos and other things which people might otherwise choose.

The great complaint of the Under-Secretary and the Secretary of State in Committee on the Industry Bill is that we lack investment and that industry is overmanned. But we are not dealing with investment here. This money is a subsidy, a charity to keep the firm continually overmanned, to keep people from being unemployed. This move has no purpose in the regeneration of British industry. It is part of the philosophy of this Government of which the social contract is an example, of which the Prime Minister's address on television is an example, of which the bland assurances which the Under-Secretary will give us from behind his bullet-proof spectacles will be another example. That philosophy is that all will be well if we do nothing and give the firm £50 million from an inexhaustible kitty being supplied by goodness knows who. That is called buying time. It is also buying trouble.

Mr. Ian Gow (Eastbourne)

And votes.

Mr. Fairbairn

Temporarily, perhaps. Not for long. Far from being in the interests of those who work in British Leyland, far less the subsidiary companies, it is extending the frightfulness of the penalty the Government will have to pay. But it is delaying it for a bit longer in the hope of saving the Government in the meantime.

The Secretary of State for Industry, who I regret to see has left the Chamber, asked about the application of Section 332 of the Companies Act. What more relevant question could anyone have asked? He is the man who has told us that it did not apply to the unfortunate creditors of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, who were persuaded by the Government to go on supplying credit to an insolvent company and have now been left holding the debts. He is the person who wishes to perpetuate an identical situation and who will not put in his Bill any provision to save those who will suffer if the Government funk it when the cost rises from £50 million to £500 million to £5,000 million. Who will hold the debt and go to gaol under Section 332? The people who should go to gaol are on the Government Front Bench and I trust that they will.

It appears to be the Government's intention to ruin the company by their policies and taxation, to put out the eyes of the people, mock them for their blindness and in perpetuity give them a subsidy to wander around with a white stick in the age of the technological revolution. There is no logic in what they are doing and there is no charity in it. Their pretence to be on the side of working people is false, it is a charade. What they want is power over working people not for working people, and they think that this is one way of getting it. I trust that the House will condemn them for their cynical attitude.

11.20 p.m.

Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)

I listened with great interest to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn) who spoke with fervour in criticising the Government for their irresponsibility. I accept his criticism of the Government for their loose acceptance of the Ryder Report, but I cannot go all the way with him in his criticism of the Government's approach to the £50 million.

I listened with great interest to the delightful speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson). I was amused, but not impressed, by its medieval overtones. There will always be differences between the two sides of the House, and I am not convinced—[Interruption.]—I am not prepared to allow the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) to interrupt me from a sedentary position, quietly as he always does. There is no more gracious man in the House than the right hon. Member, and I give way to him graciously.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

I rise simply to say that there is nothing specifically medieval about bankruptcy.

Mr. Crouch

No, but there is something remarkably medieval about my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North, although there is much in him that I admire. He spoke of his grandmother's mangle. I do not want to put BLMC through the mangle—

Dr. Boyson


Mr. Crouch

Let me finish my sentence.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Myer Galpern)

Order. After all, it was the family mangle of the hon. Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson) and the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch) should allow him to intervene.

Mr. Crouch

Let us hear about the mangle.

Dr. Boyson

My Hon. Friend has not quite understood the purpose of my tale about the mangle. I did not suggest that British Leyland should go through the mangle—whether a medieval, nineteenth century or twentieth century mangle. My grandmother pointed out to me that if I got a finger stuck in the mangle and she turned the wheel I should go all the way through. I used that as an illustration of a painful process. My illustration—which I hope will be remembered in the House for a long time—was intended to show that paying this £50 million is like putting one's finger in the mangle. The wheel will turn and take one through. That was the basis of the analogy.

Mr. Crouch

That is a very clear exposition. The £50 million is one finger in the mangle.

Dr. Boyson

This is £100 million—two fingers.

Mr. Crouch

There is nothing worse than mixing our metaphors. I have no intention of using two fingers in regard to British Leyland—but I want to change the metaphor now because we may get mangled in the process.

I do not think that it would be wise—indeed, it would be irresponsible—after our criticism of the British Leyland situation, of the Ryder Report and of the Government's decision to put so much of the taxpayers' money behind the imaginary success of British Leyland in future as detailed in the report, to take the hammer and try to break British Leyland up.

I echo what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King). I will not take the hammer. It would be wrong. It would be irresponsible. I say in all earnestness to my hon. Friends, none of whom is irresponsible in this matter—if I use the word "medieval" it is in the House of Commons context, and I hope that it will be taken as such—that I do not think it would be right for us to take any decision which would be comparable to taking a hammer which could break this undertaking up.

It is not a pleasure to see the possible break-up of British Leyland into many parts which would not necessarily be successful. One can talk about Rover, Triumph, Jaguar and other parts of British Leyland which could be successful on their own, but I am concerned about the total. At the moment, I am not prepared to accept much of what is in the Ryder Report—and there is much in it that is admittedly only in two-line sentences and does not say much—but I am equally not prepared to let British Leyland go on as it has been going on in the past, and no one in this House should be prepared to do that. Nor am I prepared to take a hammer at this stage, even if it is only a small one, and say, "I have done the right thing and broken it up". I am only saying that we must now give the management a chance, and, what is more, tell it so. We are considering the situation of any Government, and any Government might have this responsibility for 190,000 workers and many thousands of others in the Midlands and elsewhere associated with British Leyland. How many constituencies are not touched by British Leyland?

Mr. Percy Grieve (Solihull)

My hon. Friend said that he was not prepared to let British Leyland go on as it has in the past. Does he not appreciate that this vast ingestion of public money into British Leyland is precisely an encouragement to it and to other industries throughout the country which do not appreciate the economic and financial realities of today to go on precisely as they have been doing in the past?

Mr. Crouch

I agree with my hon. and learned Friend, I do not want to see British Leyland broken up because that would jeopardise so much in the country, but I accept that there is a danger that we might be feeding irresponsibility into the community, into the unions, into management and into the Government and all Members of Parliament. I accept that such irresponsibility can be fed by more and more money. Perhaps I am wrong. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear".] I hope I have support elsewhere. At least my right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South, who never agrees, when he disagrees is so nice about it. Perhaps I shall not carry many of my hon. Friends with me in what I am saying, but I believe that we should take pause and give the Government this small opportunity, with the reservation that British Leyland cannot carry on as it has in the past.

From my careful reading of the Ryder Report and my study of the matter, I believe that in British Leyland there has been inadequate rationalisation, an inadequate appreciation of the range of models, inadequate costing, inadequate pricing, inadequate management generally and—this I am sure we all accept—inadequate industrial relations management. There has been over-manning. Everyone knows it. It has to stop. There has to be better management, and better management will come by giving the management a chance now rather than taking a hammer to British Leyland.

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Crouch

Yes, very briefly.

Mr. Tebbit

I thank my hon. Friend. It will save my attempting to make a speech. I have a difficulty, in which my hon. Friend can perhaps help me and persuade me of his point of view. I was not sent here because I thought I knew whether BLMC should make Minis or cars with a Jaguar or Triumph badge. I was sent here to look after my constituents' money. Is my hon. Friend willing, on the prospectus of the Ryder Report, to put his money into BLMC? Indeed, is the Minister willing to put his money into it? If not, why should I put my constituents' money into an operation into which my hon. Friend would not put his money?

Mr. Crouch

I do not think I am being invited at this moment to put money into British Leyland. [Hon. Members: "Oh, yes, you are.") Very well. I have had money in unsuccessful ventures such as BSA and NVT. I have had experience in some of these problems.

However, I do not want to detain the House. I have said that I am not prepared to tolerate inadequate rationalisation, but nor am I prepared—and this must be a warning, even if it is only from me, to the Government and to the Minister—to accept incompetent nationalisation if that is the outcome. All that I am talking about tonight is not taking a hammer, not trying to destroy, but trying to give the corporation an opportunity.

11.31 p.m.

Mr. Ian Gow (Eastbourne)

Almost exactly six months ago, on 18th December 1974, the Secretary of State came to the House of Commons at a quarter past 10 in the evening and made a speech which lasted for 11 minutes asking the House to approve a guarantee of £50 million for British Leyland. Tonight the Under-Secretary has spent three minutes in asking the House of Commons to approve a further guarantee of £50 million to British Leyland. On those grounds alone—the contrast between December and now, the contrast between the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary, the contrast between the 11 minutes in December and the three minutes tonight—I believe that the House of Commons, as guardian of the nation's purse, would be justified in opposing this motion tonight.

But there are other grounds as well, and the second ground is that if ever there were a time when the Government should act as trustee for the nation, this is it. It is the duty of a trustee to invest money wisely, and a trustee can be called to account for the way in which he invests the money with which he is entrusted. I do not believe that there is any justification for a trustee—and tonight I believe that the Government are acting as a trustee—investing another £50 million without any explanation and without any reason being given to the beneficiaries—all the people of this country—why this further £50 million is needed. It is a very grave dereliction of duty that the Under-Secretary should spend three minutes only in telling the House tonight why he is asking for another £50 million.

The third reason why my hon. Friends and I will oppose the motion is that we believe that the granting of another £50 million at this time and in the circumstances can only be a further encouragement along precisely the road that the Prime Minister himself warned against in his speech last night at the CBI dinner.

What will be the lesson drawn by industry if tonight this motion is passed'? The lesson will be drawn that despite the brave words of the Prime Minister last night it is the Secretary of State for industry who is running the Government.

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, Central)

I wish he were.

Mr. Gow

I think that Labour Members below the Gangway can draw comfort tonight from what is happening. If ever there were a clear dichotomy between what the Prime Minister said last night and what the Under-Secretary of State is asking for tonight, it is to be seen in this further request for £50 million.

The final reason for opposing this motion is that it will add still further to the public sector borrowing requirement at a time when we should be looking most zealously at ways of reducing any further increases in the sums which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is borrowing from abroad. For all those reasons my hon. Friends and I will oppose this motion.

11.36 p.m.

Mr. Kenneth Warren (Hastings)

The wheel has turned. It was the Secretary of State for Industry who created British Leyland and now, years later, he comes back and tells us that it did not quite work out and that the merger was not successful. We are now being asked to perpetuate that which has not been successful. Only last week the right hon. Gentleman gave an entirely different account of his views about mergers. On 14th May he said: the idea that somehow a merger is the answer to the problems of a company does not now seem to be as sensible as at one time it seemed …".—[Official Report, 14th May 1975; Vol. 892, c. 463.] That was said by the right hon. Gentleman when answering a question following the Ferranti statement, yet here we have the fantastic situation of the Secretary of State admitting that his business mechanisms are wrong. However, we are being asked to supply further taxpayers' money.

We object to being asked to authorise the Secretary of State and his cronies to pay this money. Surely he is a discredited man. It is ridiculous that we should be asked to spend our time in this way when the right hon. Gentleman has already failed. Surely that is the most compelling reason of all to stop him in his tracks from taking British Leyland into the bankruptcy which will inevitably result. It is about time, if there is so much money available, that some money is used to back firms in which hard work and success do not find the reward from this Government that is needed.

11.38 p.m.

Mr. Meacher

Silently my right hon. and hon. Friends have been witnessing an interesting spectacle—namely, an internal debate within the Tory Party. It has been a debate full of contradictions and divisions. They have been all too apparent. With the possible exception of the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch), every Conservative Member has shown his deep contempt of and opposition to the line taken by his own Front Bench. They all opposed the kind of compromise that the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) was forced to adopt. We can understand the hon. Gentleman's difficulties.

Mr. Hall-Davies

I am sorry to keep the House for even 15 seconds, but the hon. Gentleman is telling an untruth. I made no reference at any point in my speech to the attitude expressed by my Front Bench. I put a series of direct questions to the hon. Gentleman which I hope he will answer.

Mr. Meacher

The hon. Gentleman asked questions and I shall answer him, but it is clear—

Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Myer Galpern)

Order. If the House wishes to hear the reply, surely we can have a little peace and quiet to allow the Minister to be heard.

Mr. Meacher

The hon. Member for Bridgwater made it clear that he was not accepting the proposal of a receivership. He obviously fears the electoral consequences of adopting that as the official party line, even though his hon. Friends are only to eager to follow that line, as is all too obvious, but he resisted adopting the rather stronger, harsh-line Selsdon attitude of some of his hon. Friends. But he rather spoiled matters by saying that although he strongly objected to this money being given in the quantities in which it was being invested, he would not vote against the order. Indeed, he entered the caveat that he would not vote against the order provided that the time so bought was used for further studies. I would inform the hon. Gentleman that detailed studies have already taken place over a period of several months involving a whole string of professional advisers, and there have been visits to 35 plants or more and exhaustive discussions with the work force and with management.

Mr. Tom King

I hope that the Minister will not debase the Opposition argument by suggesting that we are merely weighing the matter in terms of votes. The Secretary of State for Industry certainly made it clear that the matter of votes was his only consideration. We called not merely for further studies but for a realistic and effective solution to those studies which can produce an effective answer for British Leyland.

Mr. Meacher

The hon. Gentleman calls for effective solutions, but Opposition Members are entirely inconsistent in their views. The solutions proposed by the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine), the alternative put forward by the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior), and the rather tougher line taken by the number of his hon. Friends were all entirely different and showed the total split among the Opposition as to how the matters should be tackled. The hon. Gentleman certainly cannot say that there is any lack of information, because it is all contained in the Ryder Report.

I turn to the speech made by the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Mr. Hall-Davis) who made a genuine contribution to the debate and asked for answers to three quite proper questions. First, he objected that the facts on which he believed judgments needed to be made were omitted from the Ryder Report, and he cited the fact that certain chapters had been cut out on grounds of commercial confidentiality. He perhaps does not realise it, but that is entirely contrary to the line taken by several of his hon. Friends, notably the hon. Member for Henley, in Committee. They suggested that the release of any kind of information about a company's future plans is bound to be damaging and could undermine the commercial interests of the firm concerned. Chapter 5 of the Ryder Report is concerned with product range and marketing, and that is an area of commercial sensitivity which it would be against the interests of the board, the working force and the nation as a whole to reveal. There was careful consideration as to what should be cut out. It was cut out not by the Government but by the Ryder team in the interests of British Leyland.

Secondly, the hon. Gentleman asked who would carry the can in this operation. The hon. Gentleman mentioned the board. I hope that he accepts that the work force is included in that category. But he asked who would carry the can. We shall be implementing the Ryder proposals for a new system of works councils and committees along the lines suggested in that report. There is the closest collaboration between the board and Sir Don Ryder, as the Government's industrial adviser and chairman designate of the National Enterprise Board, under which British Leyland will ultimately come.

The views expressed by the Opposition about the Ryder proposals will be made known publicly. There can be no question but that British Leyland management is by and large extremely pleased with the Ryder proposals.

Mr. Ralph Howell (Norfolk, North)

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us whether the unpublished part of the Ryder Report contained comparisons between British Leyland and its overseas competitors?

Mr. Meacher

No. They were not cut out of the report. The information about production per man hour cannot be standardised because it is impossible to provide standardised comparisons with regard to the manufacture of heterogeneous products such as cars, trucks and buses. For that reason the Ryder Committee decided that such comparisons would be highly misleading and omitted them from the report. But they were not contained in the part of the report which was excised.

Thirdly, I was asked to state whether employees would be informed of the implications of the Ryder Committee's proposals. I give a full assurance on that point. It is our intention that for the first time in the motor industry a planning agreement shall be made between the company and the Government. The basis of that will be that the items detailed in paragraph 15 of the White Paper on the regeneration of British industry must be discussed with the work force and receive the agreement and acceptance of the work force, otherwise no effective planning agreement can be made by the board with the Government.

Mr. Hall-Davis

When will that information be disclosed?

Mr. Meacher

The Liberal spokesman, the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright), is entitled to receive an answer to his question. At the end of his speech, in a rather casual aside, which was all the more indicative, he said that British Leyland could look after itself. I submit that he got himself into a knot. He was asked, I think, by the hon. Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen), whether he believed in receivership. The hon. Gentleman replied that he did not. That was an important question. Will he provide for the continuance of this company? The alternative to receivership is presumably discontinuance. If he votes against this order, as is his declared intention, he is not permitting that alternative, either. It is a totally nonsensical position.

Mr. Richard Wainwright

I rise because I have been deliberately misrepresented, not for the first time. Has the Minister any evidence, now that the Bill has received its Second Reading, that the banks would dream of foreclosing on British Leyland in its new form?

Mr. Meacher

The hon. Gentleman cannot escape as easily as that. He is opposed to receivership, but he is also opposed to British Leyland receiving another £50 million from the banks, provided that sum is guaranteed by the Government as a result of this order. If he votes against the order he will block that. His position is wholly illogical.

I think that I have spent too much time on what was said by the hon. Member for Henley and I should like to reply to the main point that has been made in the debate. The suggestion was that there should be a more comprehensive public investment strategy on the basis of which the allocation of so much money on a relatively concentrated area of the economy could be rationally decided. The key point is that the Government do not have the time that they would like in this matter. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Colne Valley was making mock of my right hon. Friend's words and trying to suggest that it was his misunderstanding budgetary control. With respect, the hon. Gentleman misunderstands the point.

Mr. Michael Morris (Northampton, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) did not mention any of the points that the Minister is now answering.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Meacher

Several hon. Gentlemen opposite made points which had very little to do with the order and must have been straining the mind of the Chair as to their relevance.

The point is that the Government had to take a decision and to act quickly. We have not the time to wait until September for the introduction of this rights issue of £200 million. We must act quickly. The position is stark. It is not possible to do what, I accept, the hon. Gentlemen would like to do in an ideal world.

The concentration of investment in one area is probably a better way of providing aid than threadbare tenuous amounts spread throughout the economy. There is evidence to suggest that aid given in this way is not very effective. Because of the ramifications in other industries, this is probably as effective a way as providing assistance in engineering generally.

The hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) indicated that there had been no explanation of what the order was for. There has been a full explanation. It is to guarantee the provision of £50 million in extra bank overdraft for British Leyland, because its existing overdraft is likely to run out in the early part of next month, and to provide a bridging loan until the money provided in the Bill, which has now been given a Second Reading, comes through.

The arguments have been stated at considerable length. Contrary to the extreme divisions in the Opposition, which have been made only too apparent tonight, the only clear and consistent view which has come forward is that enshrined in the Bill. On that basis, I have no hesitation in commending the order to the House.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 226, Noes 58.

Division No. 217.] AYES [11.54 p.m.
Allaun, Frank Faulds, Andrew Lyons, Edward (Bradford W.)
Anderson, Donald Fernyhough, Rt. Hon. E. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Archer, Peter Fitch, Alan (Wigan) McCusker, H.
Armstrong, Ernest Flannery, Martin Mackenzie, Gregor
Ashton, Joe Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Mackintosh, John P.
Atkinson, Norman Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Ford, Ben McNamara, Kevin
Bain, Mrs. Margaret Forrester, John Madden, Max
Bates, Alf Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Magee, Bryan
Bean, R. E. Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Mahon, Simon
Benn, Rt. Hon. Anthony Wedgwood Freeson, Reginald Marks, Kenneth
Bidwell, Sydney Garrett, John (Norwich S.) Marquand, David
Blenkinsop, Arthur George, Bruce Meacher, Michael
Boardman, H. Gilbert, Dr. John Mellish, Rt. Hon. Robert
Booth, Albert Ginsburg, David Mikardo, Ian
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Golding, John Millan, Bruce
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Gould, Bryan Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W.) Graham, Ted Miller, Dr. M. S. (E Kilbride)
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S.) Grant, George (Morpeth) Miller, Mrs. Millie (Ilford N.)
Buchanan, Richard Grant, John (Islington C.) Molloy, William
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P.) Grocott, Bruce Moonman, Eric
Campbell, Ian Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Canavan, Dennis Hardy, Peter Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Cant, R. B. Harper, Joseph Morris, Rt. Hon. J. (Aberavon)
Carmichael, Neil Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mulley, Rt. Hon. Frederick
Carter, Ray Hart, Rt. Hon. Judith Newens, Stanley
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hatton, Frank Oakes, Gordon
Cartwright, John Hayman, Mrs. Helene Ogden, Eric
Castle, Rt. Hon. Barbara Heffer, Eric S. O'Halloran, Michael
Clemitson, Ivor Henderson, Douglas O'Malley, Rt. Hon. Brian
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S.) Hooley, Frank Ovenden, John
Coleman, Donald Horam, John Owen, Dr. David
Concannon, J. D. Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Palmer, Arthur
Conlan, Bernard Huckfield, Les Park, George
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C.) Hughes, Rt. Hon. C. (Anglesey) Parker, John
Corbett, Robin Hughes, Mark (Durham) Parry, Robert
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Pavitt, Laurie
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Hunter, Adam Peart, Rt. Hon. Fred
Crawshaw, Richard Irvine, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (Edge Hill) Pendry, Tom
Cryer, Bob Irving, Rt. Hon. S. (Dartford) Perry, Ernest
Cunningham, G. (Islington S.) Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Phipps, Dr. Colin
Cunningham, Dr. J. (Whiteh) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Prescott, John
Dalyell, Tam Janner, Greville Price, C. (Lewisham W.)
Davidson, Arthur Jeger, Mrs. Lena Price, William (Rugby)
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Radice, Giles
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Jenkins, Rt. Hon. Roy (Stechford) Reid, George
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Johnson, James (Hull West) Richardson, Miss Jo
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C.) Johnson, Walter (Derby S.) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Deakins, Eric Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Roderick, Caerwyn
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Dempsey, James Judd, Frank Rooker, J. W.
Doig, Peter Kerr, Russell Roper, John
Dormand, J. D. Kilroy-Silk, Robert Rose, Paul B.
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lamborn, Harry Ross, Rt. Hon. W. (Kilmarnock)
Dunlop, John Lamond, James Rowlands, Ted
Dunnett, Jack Leadbitter, Ted Ryman, John
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth Lee, John Sandelson, Neville
Edge, Geoff Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Sedgemore, Brian
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Lewis, Arthur (Newham N.) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Short, Rt. Hon. E. (Newcastle C.)
English, Michael Litterick, Tom Silkin, Rt. Hon. John (Deptford)
Evans, John (Newton) Loyden, Eddie Sillars, James
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Lyon, Alexander (York) Silverman, Julius
Small, William Tinn, James Williams, Rt. Hon. Shirley (Hertford)
Smith, John (N Lanarkshire) Tomlinson, John Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Snape, Peter Urwin, T. W. Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E.)
Spearing, Nigel Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V.) Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Spriggs, Leslie Walker, Terry (Kingswood) Wise, Mrs. Audrey
Stallard, A. W. Ward, Michael Woodall, Alec
Stoddart, David Watkins, David Woof, Robert
Stott, Roger Watkinson, John Wrigglesworth, Ian
Strang, Gavin Weetch, Ken Young, David (Bolton E.)
Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. Welsh, Andrew
Taylor, Mrs. Ann (Bolton W.) White, Frank R. (Bury) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E.) White, James (Pollok) Miss Betty Boothroyd
Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW) Whitlock, William and Mr. John Ellis.
Thompson, George Williams, Alan (Swansea W.)
Aitken, Jonathan Knight, Mrs. Jill Shepherd, Colin
Beith, A. J. Lawrence, Ivan Sims, Roger
Biffen, John Lawson, Nigel Skeet, T. H. H.
Biggs-Davison, John Lloyd, Ian Spence, John
Body, Richard Macfarlane, Neil Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Stanbrook, Ivor
Boyson, Dr. Rhodes (Brent) Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Brotherton, Michael Mather, Carol Stokes, John
Budgen, Nick Mayhew, Patrick Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Mills, Peter Tebbit, Norman
Cope, John Moate, Roger Thorpe, Rt. Hon. Jeremy (N Devon)
Cormack, Patrick Molyneaux, James Townsend, Cyril D.
Fairbairn, Nicholas Morris, Michael (Northampton S.) Wainwright, Richard (Colne V.)
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N.) Morrison, Hon. Peter (Chester) Warren, Kenneth
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Nelson, Anthony Wiggin, Jerry
Glyn, Dr. Alan Osborn, John Winterton, Nicholas
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Pardoe, John
Grieve, Percy Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hannam, John Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Mr. Clement Freud
Hordern, Peter Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) and Mr. Cyril Smith.
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That this House authorises the Secretary of State to pay or undertake to pay sums by way of financial assistance under section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 in respect of a guarantee or guarantees to be given to the bankers of British Leyland Motor Corporation Limited and any of its subsidiaries covering borrowing facilities made available by the bankers to those companies, insofar as the amount paid or undertaken to be paid under the guarantee or guarantees is in excess of £50 million, being the maximum amount authorised by resolution of this House on 18th December 1974, but does not exceed £100 million.

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