HC Deb 02 April 1979 vol 965 cc913-4
2. Mr. Arnold

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what discussions he has had with the chairman of the National Enterprise Board about the future viability of Inmos.

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

My right hon. Friend has had several discussions with the chairman about the Inmos project.

Mr. Arnold

Will the Minister confirm—or deny—that Inmos has yet to decide the precise product range in which it will be involved? Since three out of five members of the original design team left, has not there been some confusion surrounding what Inmos would do?

Mr. Huckfield

I cannot agree with some of the rumours to which the hon. Gentleman has given voice. My information is that Inmos is putting together a successful and acknowledged team throughout the world and that its programme and schedule are very much on target.

Mrs. Castle

Is my hon. Friend aware that Government supporters are concerned about the location of Inmos? Does he agree that it would be outrageous if this important development were not sited in an assisted area?

Mr. Huckfield

I think that my right hon. Friend speaks for many Government supporters. Indeed, many members of the Opposition have made similar representations. My right hon. Friends have already made it clear that we believe that the production units of Inmos should be sited in an assisted area.

Mr. Hoyle

Does my hon. Friend agree that the National Enterprise Board should be congratulated on keeping us in this area of new technology? Without the initiative of public enterprise our balance of payments would have suffered by becoming many hundreds of millions of pounds in deficit. That is not the only advantage. There is now an opportunity to provide jobs in this new area. That is very important.

Mr. Huckfield

My hon. Friend speaks for all Government supporters. What he says makes a constructive and positive contribution, in complete contradiction to the carping criticism that we normally get from the Opposition.

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