HC Deb 06 May 1976 vol 910 cc1470-1
Q6. Mrs. Hayman

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Hatfield.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so.

Mrs. Hayman

Will the Prime Minister reconsider that reply and take the opportunity to meet some of my constituents who at present work at Hawker Siddeley Aviation in Hatfield and who will lose their jobs next month unless the Government choose to pledge their support for the HS146 project? Will he take this opportunity to reassure aircraft workers that the civil airframe industry has a future under the present Government and that the HS146, in particular, will go ahead?

The Prime Minister

I shall consider what my hon. Friend has said. I know that the company has recently proposed an increased programme of work on the HS146 project. I assure my hon. Friend that the Secretary of State for Industry is urgently seeking the further information needed in order to decide whether an increase in public expenditure can be justified. As soon as he has the relevant information, a final decision will be taken in the light of all the representations that my hon. Friend herself has made. She has been most energetic on behalf of this project, and on behalf of her constituents in the area.

Mr. Adley

As there are many aircraft workers in Hatfield, will the Prime Minister take an early opportunity to read a book that is being published today, called "Concorde—The Inside Story", in which there are some extraordinary allegations about the cancellation of the TSR2 and the HS154, which will have affected the constituents of the hon. Lady, in that the allegations seem to suggest that the American Government put pressure on the British Government, who consequently cancelled those two aeroplanes? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many aircraft workers have remained concerned about the TSR2, and will he look into this matter?

Prime Minister

I do not think that I shall read the book. I see so many sensational allegations every week that I really try to concentrate on the essentials. I have a recollection of the events of 1964 and 1965—which are pretty clear in my mind, although I have not checked the details—and my recollection is that there is absolutely no truth in this report. However, I shall be very glad to look into it further.

Mr. David Price

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if he were to abandon his attempt to nationalise the aircraft industry and were to use the public moneys to be allocated to that, he would have enough to support the HS146 without any increase in public expenditure?

The Prime Minister

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is right in saying that there is a need for priorities in this matter. He will soon become a Socialist if he carries on in this way. As for priorities, it is a matter for the Government and the House to make the choice, and we shall do so.