HC Deb 25 January 1982 vol 16 cc609-10
19. Mr. Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what are the likely effects on Rolls-Royce Ltd. of the decision by Lockheed to cease production of the Tristar aircraft.

Mr. Norman Lamont

The Lockheed decision is obviously a disappointment to Rolls-Royce. The chairman has informed me that in the short-term the impact on planned work load will be relatively small because of the world-wide recession that has already resulted in a scaling down of orders. In the longer term the company will endeavour to offset the loss of Tristar sales, but there is bound to be an effect on employment and profitability, which is currently being assessed.

Mr. Ward

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Will he encourage Rolls-Royce to continue to seek technical co-operation with other aircraft engine manufacturers overseas?

Mr. Lamont

I shall certainly pass my hon. Friend's views to the chairman. I agree with his implication that the scale of the industry is such that collaboration is becoming increasingly inevitable.

Mr. Trotter

Is there any possibility that we shall see Rolls-Royce engines in the successful Airbus family? Is it not a great pity that this European venture is not powered with a European engine?

Mr. Lamont

It is for Rolls-Royce to assess the commercial viability of new opportunities. We have not received any application for launch aid for the RB 500 from Rolls-Royce.

Mr. Park

Will the hon. Gentleman reconsider his reply to the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Ward)? He may conclude that it was an extremely complacent answer, since hundreds of redundancies are to take place in Rolls-Royce factories throughout the country. The Minister's replies to me and to the work force have been singularly unhelpful up to now.

Mr. Lamont

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman finds my reply unsatisfactory. My hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr. Ward) asked me about the prospects for collaboration, and collaboration with the Japanese is, in the first instance, a matter for the management. Obviously the Government keep themselves closely informed and are in close contact with Rolls-Royce all the time, but I cannot say more at this stage.