HC Deb 17 May 1976 vol 911 cc942-3
10. Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much public money has been invested, to date, in Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd.

The Under-Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. Les Huckfield)

A sum of £230.3 million of which £16 million is equity and £.69.3 million is loan.

Mr. Rost

Since earlier replies have confirmed our worst fears that we are unlikely to have an airframe industry in this country because the Government will be too late to join a collaborative project with Europe or America, may we at least be given an assurance that there will be an aero-engine industry by funding the urgently-needed intermediate fan project to provide aero-engines for the new generation of world airliners?

Mr. Huckfield

The best guarantee for the future of the aerospace industry is the nationalisation as soon as possible of the aircraft industry. Future projects are a matter for discussion in the first stage with the National Enterprise Board, but no definite proposals have been received by the Government as yet.

Mr. loan Evans

In fairness to the former Conservative Government, does my hon. Friend agree that they were justified in taking Rolls-Royce into public ownership and that they ignored the nonsensical doctrinal theories of the Tory Party on the subject of public ownership? Why is it that the Tory Party does not mind if British industry is taken over by Tokyo, Texas or Timbuctoo, but objects when the British people seek to own British industry?

Mr. Huckfield

Even Conservative Members are capable of learning from the experience of their own Government in office.

Mr. Grylls

Will the Minister tell the House why it has taken six months to decide the price at which Rolls-Royce shares are to be transferred to the National Enterprise Board?

Mr. Huckfield

If the hon. Gentleman will table a separate Question on that subject, I shall be only too happy to answer him.