HC Deb 25 January 1982 vol 16 cc601-2
8. Mr. Robert Atkins

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what Government assistance is at present available to the British aerospace industry.

The Minister of State, Department of Industry (Mr. Norman Lamont)

Government assistance may be provided in various forms. Net public expenditure in direct support for the civil aircraft, aero-engine and equipment industry in 1981–82 is expected to be £251.8 million.

Mr. Atkins

If it is still Government policy to put money into success stories, as it is in France, the United States of America, Japan and West Germany, when does my hon. Friend expect to be able to make a positive and helpful statement about Government support for the A320 airbus?

Mr. Lamont

We have received an approach from British Aerospace about the availability of launch aid, which we are considering. I agree with what my hon. Friend said about the successful record of the British aircraft industry. The Government wish to be satisfied that the project will earn a good return.

Mr. McNally

Will the Minister look for close co-operation with the Japanese aerospace industry in considering a new launch into the 1980s and 1990s?

Mr. Lamont

The hon. Gentleman is right. The Japanese wish to expand their aircraft industry, and it is possible that collaboration with Japan can take place. However, that is a matter for the Government and a matter of first concern to the companies involved.

Mr. Michael Marshall

Does my hon. Friend agree that, in addition to the figures that he has quoted, the assistance given to the European Space Agency should fairly be regarded as assistance to the British aerospace industry, especially as it moves increasingly into the area of electronics information technology?

Mr. Lamont

My hon. Friend is right. The figures that I quoted did not include £55 million spent on space, which goes largely to the ESA.