HC Deb 08 November 1976 vol 919 cc16-7
10. Mr. Grylls

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the interim accounts of the National Enterprise Board for the period 20th November 1975 to 30th June 1976.

Mr. Les Huckfield

No, Sir.

Mr. Grylls

Is the Under-Secretary satisfied with a meagre profit of £29 million on sales of £1,100 million by the National Enterprise Board? If a private sector company did so badly, it would never be able to raise money in the market. How can the NEB go on spending and spending? Is the reason that it is using taxpayers' money?

Mr. Huckfield

That is a rather peculiar remark to come from the hon. Gentleman, especially since he and his hon. Friends are constantly running down British industry. He should appreciate that if the regeneration of British industry is to be achieved, and if we are to secure a shift of the nation's resources into manufacturing industry, the National Enterprise Board must play a very prominent part.

Mr. Ronald Atkins

Is not the NEB concerned with rescuing vital parts of British industry which have been abandoned by private enterprise—or the lack of it—and are not the initial losses bound to reflect that, although the ultimate gain to British employment and prosperity will be well worth the cost?

Mr. Huckfield

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Without this Government, the country would not have a car industry. Without this Government, it would not have an aero-engine industry or a machine tool industry. The Conservatives voted against each of those decisions.