HC Deb 17 May 1976 vol 911 cc930-1
2. Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the current state of discussions with Chrysler United Kingdom Limited.

Mr. Varley

My Department is involved in continuing discussions with Chrysler United Kingdom about the implementation of the agreement, monitoring of the company's performance and the planning agreement which it is intended to conclude. We also maintain discussions with the company which stem from normal sponsorship responsibility.

Mr. Moonman

Do the figures originally given to the House for the Government's commitment still apply, or have they been altered in any direction? Is the company now bound by the original agreement?

Mr. Varley

I think that there have been a few changes since the matter was debated in the House. In particular, there have been changes in the level of the work force now required for Chrysler United Kingdom. I believe that a meeting took place between Chrysler United Kingdom and the work force last Friday and there was a suggestion that some of the redundancies previously envisaged would not now go ahead.

Mr. Hal Miller

Will the Secretary of State tell the House whether in his or his Department's discussions with the Chrysler Corporation there has been any discussion about the import content of Chrysler's share of the domestic market? Will he tell the House what that percenttage is?

Mr. Varley

No. I need notice of that question. Continuing discussions are taking place between officials of my Department and Chrysler United Kingdom. Coopers and Lybrand, on behalf of the Department, monitored the company's performance. If the hon. Gentleman puts down a specific Question about that, I shall do my best to answer it.

Mr. Heseltine

Has there been any revision, upwards or downwards, in the amount of Government funds needed to carry through the Government's strategy?

Mr. Varley

There have not been any changes in that. It is still envisaged that Chrysler United Kingdom will make a loss this year of approximately £40 million. I cannot be more precise than that at this stage. I apologise to my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Moonman) for not answering this point earlier when he put it to me. I answered the other part of his question rather fully. I can tell the House that, so far, under the agreement, £27 million has been advanced to Chrysler to meet losses. It has also received £2 million by way of loan.