HC Deb 12 July 1983 vol 45 c754
12. Mr. Arnold

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received recently from British Aerospace about the servicing and refitting of Nimrod aircraft.

Mr. Pattie

I wrote to my hon. Friend on 30 March 1983. The position has not changed since then.

Mr. Arnold

When will the RAF make up its mind about what constitutes a service and what constitutes a refit? Is my hon. Friend aware that the company is anxious to sign the contract but that the RAF is dragging its heels?

Mr. Pattie

I shall examine the matter again. My understanding is that the RAF is not dragging its feet. There is a need to strike the right balance between the level of servicing by the RAF and the level of servicing by the company. In view of what has been said I shall re-examine the matter.

Mr. Eastham

Is the Minister aware of the aerospace industry's desperate plight and that only recently 3,500 workers were declared redundant? Does the Minister recall that during the Falklands crisis the industry came to the nation's aid? What assistance will the Minister give?

Mr. Pattie

I am aware of what the hon. Gentleman says. He will recall coming to see me a few months ago to make the same representations. Whether the Nimrod production line at Manchester is opened again is primarily for the company to decide. We are assisting the company to achieve export sales in every way possible because we think that that is the best way forward.