HC Deb 08 November 1976 vol 919 cc6-7
4. Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he has any plans for further nationalisation.

The Minister of State, Department of Industry (Mr. Gerald Kaufman)

Depending on parliamentary progress, the Government's published proposals on nationalisation which fall within my Department's responsibilities will shortly have been implemented in full.

Mr. Rost

Is it not criminally irresponsible and sheer lunancy, in the week when the Government have so disgraced Britain that the international bailiffs have been called in, for the Government to bulldoze through Parliament a further nationalisation measure which we cannot afford, which will hinder further the prospects of national recovery and which the electors have decisively rejected?

Mr. Kaufman

Unless the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill is enacted urgently, the bailiffs will be called in to a number of shipyards in England and Scotland and certain aircraft factories. I draw attention to the particular gravity of the situation for Scottish Aviation and the jeopardy in which the future of Hawker Siddeley in North Wales will be placed if the Bill does not go through quickly.

Mr. Mike Thomas

Is my hon. Friend aware that the turbo-generator manufacturing industry will become a prime candidate for nationalisation if he does not listen to the representations made to him and his right hon. Friend? Why has he not published the NEDO report which shows that the bringing forward of the Drax B power station would save Government money? Why has not that report been published? Will my hon. Friend take steps to ensure that nationalising this industry is not the only way left to save it?

Mr. Kaufman

Sufficient unto the Parliament is the public ownership thereof. We are concentrating on the public owner-ships of the aircraft and shipbuilding industries at the moment.

Mr. Michael Marshall

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that uncertainty has been caused in the aerospace and shipbuilding industries by the Government's nationalisation policy? Will he take a sensible look—even at this late stage—at the position to find other ways of proceeding in a less spendthrift manner?

Mr. Kaufman

That is not the view of the newly elected President of the Shipbuilders and Repairers Association or of the Sunday Times yesterday, both of whom urge the rapid enactment of the Bill.

Mr. Walter Johnson

Does not my hon. Friend agree that had it not been for the nationalisation of the Rolls-Royce engine division in Derby that great company would have gone to the wall and tens of thosuands of workers would have been thrown out of work?

Mr. Kaufman

My hon. Friend is accurate. Instead of the parliamentary process for that nationalisation taking nearly a year—as is the parliamentary process on this Bill—that Bill went through in 17 hours. That is the way the Tories nationalise.

Mr. Tom King

That may be the view expressed in a recent article in the Sunday Times, but it is clearly not the view of the electors of Walsall, North and Workington that further nationalisation is required. The Minister has not answered the Question. He has not given a categorical undertaking that there will be no further nationalisation. Does he not realise—as does the CBI in "The Road to Recovery"—the unique damage that the threat of nationalisation is doing to Britain's industrial recovery?

Mr. Kaufman

The hon. Gentleman should know that in the only by-election last Thursday in a shipbuilding area the Tory candidate was hard put to it to hold his deposit.