HC Deb 09 March 1981 vol 1000 cc607-8
11. Mr. Canavan

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will make a statement about the prospects of the vehicle construction industry.

The Under-Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. Michael Marshall)

The future of the motor manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom depends upon its ability to offer competitive products to the satisfaction of the consumer. There are encouraging signs that progress is being made in this respect.

Mr. Canavan

Will the Minister support the efforts of the Scottish TUC in pointing out to the French presidential candidates that the closure of Linwood would be a disaster not just for Scotland, but for the French motor industry—a view that is shared by French trade unionists? Will the Minister therefore consider the possibility of a new joint approach to Peugeot-Citroen by the British and French Governments to try to save the 5,000 jobs at Linwood and the thousands of other jobs that are at stake in related industries.

Mr. Marshall

I understand the hon. Gentleman's interest in this matter, but the question that he puts about the presidential candidates is not for me. The rest of his questions are matters for the PSA, but the Government are continuing discussions with it on the implications of the Linwood closure.

Mr. Stokes

Do not BL's prospects depend upon making vehicles at a profit which the public at home and abroad want to buy and which are backed by a first-rare after-sales service?

Mr. Marshall

My hon. Friend has as usual said a considerable amount.

Mr. Barry Jones

To what extent will the Government influence the location of the Nissan car plant project? Will the steel rundown areas, with their high unemployment rates, be considered? What locational qualities does the Minister believe Nissan will look for?

Mr. Marshall

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that this will be a decision for Nissan, but the representations that he, some of his hon. Friends and some of my hon. Friends have made will be taken fully into account by the company. However, Nissan must look for a location that makes the best sense to it industrially and commercially, and the history and background of the industry will be important in that regard.