HC Deb 19 December 1984 vol 70 c286
12. Mr. Tony Lloyd

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his Department is doing to assist the power engineering industry.

Mr. Norman Lamont

The industry is supported by SFI assistance under the Science and Technology Act and by Industry Act grants. Many overseas projects have also benefited from Government assistance in the form of export credits and aid and trade provision.

Mr. Lloyd

Is the Minister aware that this industry, particularly in my constituency, still continues to shed jobs at a high and regrettable rate? Is he further aware that the industry is suffering because of the collapse of domestic and overseas demand? Will the Government look seriously at their role in ensuring that we have a power engineering industry in the future, which means that we shall have to bring forward, with Government assistance, plans for the refurbishment or rebuilding of power stations in the near future, and not leave it for the next decade?

Mr. Lamont

As the hon. Gentleman knows, questions about domestic power station orders are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy. As regards support in export markets, we shall continue to support the industry. We have been successful. GEC, a company located in the hon. Gentleman's constituency, between 1 January 1980 and 31 December 1984 won more turbine generator orders than any other company in the world. It is the world leader. However, we recognise that the market position remains uncertain, but the company has had a lot of help, including £100 million from the aid and trade provision since 1980. There has been a lot of Government support, and we shall continue to do all that we can to help.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

Is my hon. Friend aware that one of the few remaining effective firms in the gas turbine industry, is situated in my constituency? Is he further aware that the real costs facing such industries in developing new models to enter world markets are high? If there is to be any Government support to the turbine industry, my hon. Friend should look carefully at the support needed to develop new models to beat our overseas competitors.

Mr. Lamont

I note what my hon. Friend says. Since 1980, under the Science and Technology Act, £11 million has gone towards supporting this sort of development. We shall, of course, continue to do what we can to help.