HC Deb 22 June 1981 vol 7 cc15-6
19. Mr. Richard Page

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will report on the current state of negotiations to establish a motor vehicle manufacturing plant by Nissan.

Mr. Michael Marshall

Nissan's feasibility study team is currently in Japan examining information gathered in the United Kingdom over the past two months. The company hopes to arrive at some preliminary conclusions in July on whether to proceed with the project. We expect that a Nissan team would then visit the United Kingdom to discuss its conclusions with the Government and other interested parties.

Mr. Page

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. May I ask that it be insisted upon that a certain percentage by weight, preferably 80 per cent., of British manufactured components is included in the agreement, to ensure that the United Kingdom does not become purely an assembly plant for Japanese-produced components and to give the British component manufacturing industry a chance to survive?

Mr. Marshall

My hon. Friend will be aware of the Government's keen interest to ensure the maximum domestic percentage in these matters. However, these are matters that will have to be considered in detail as we come closer to the appropriate time.

Mr. Gwilym Roberts

Will my hon. Friend stress to the Nissan company that the West Midlands could make a significant contribution because of its enormous component base? Will he consider the obvious advantage of having this development in the West Midlands? Regional aid would not be involved and therefore, there would be no question of public money—

Mr. Speaker

Order. It seems that the hon. Gentleman is trespassing on Question 20, which has been tabled in his name. I have not called that question yet.

Mr. Marshall

Components come from throughout the world including the West Midlands.

Mr. Hal Miller

Will my hon. Friend assure the House that there will be no question of public money being directed to this project? There is already over-capacity in the motor vehicle assembly industry in Britain. What possible justification could there be for adding to it with the assistance of public funds?

Mr. Marshall

My hon. Friend will be aware of the need to have equality of treatment, especially when considering inward investment, for mobile projects. However, he will realise that there is a substantial opportunity to replace the sizeable import trade in motor cars.

Mr. Orme

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Opposition will want a statement before the Summer Recess on this development, if it is to take place?

Mr. Marshall

I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House will note what the right hon. Gentleman has to say. However, I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will be the first to agree that it is sensible to make a statement only when there is something appropriate or sensible to say. It would be inappropriate to make a statement merely because of the convenience of doing so at the end of a Session.

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