HC Deb 02 August 1976 vol 916 cc1192-3
9. Mr. Tebbit

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what effect upon the support of new civil aircraft and engine projects he expects from the Government's review of public expenditure.

Mr. Kaufman

As in the past, proposals for new civil aircraft and engine projects will be considered on their merits and in the light of other claims on public expenditure.

Mr. Tebbit

Does the Minister of State seriously think that that is an answer to the Question? If so, I must advise him to read it again. When the Secretary of State agreed with the Government's expenditure cuts for the nationalised industries, did he take into account how much money would be required for the nationalised industries? How much is it to be, and by how much has it been cut? Someone must know.

Mr. Kaufman

What we do know, or would have known if the Opposition had not howled me down with their jungle noises last Thursday night, is that the Government have just made £6½ million available for underwriting the BAC111 and extending the holding contract on the HS146. The Tories were ranting about other things and would not allow that to be announced.

Mr. Warren

If the Minister of State is right that there will be no cuts, will he bring to the House this afternoon an announcement about the future of the Rolls-Royce 10-ton engine, which has been before him for two months? Further, will he give an assurance that, if there are no cuts, that will in no way affect his proposal to the French and the West Germans to buy work that they have already completed by investing in the Airbus?

Mr. Kaufman

I have nothing to announce at this stage on the hon. Gentleman's first question. As for his second, it is only since the Organising Committee began conducting conversations with Aerospatiale and others that we have begun to make any progress. As for participating in the Airbus project, Lord Beswick and I will continue the discussions.