§ 1. Mr. Favell
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last met the chairman of the Ford Motor Company (UK) and what subjects were discussed.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Mr. Giles Shaw)
My right hon. Friend met the chairman of Ford of Britain and some of his colleagues on 14 October. Discussion covered a wide range of topics.
§ Mr. Favell
Given the distressing news last week that Austin Rover's share of the home market is now below 13 per cent., has the Department any intention of reopening negotiations with the Ford Motor Company (UK)? That would be eminently sensible from the taxpayer's point of view and would protect perhaps not one or two Dumbos in management but the rest of the employees of Austin Rover.
§ Mr. Norris
I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Park). Those of us who greatly welcomed the statement to the House the other day about having confidence in the future of Austin Rover very much regret the continual sniping at that company, which has enough difficulties to overcome in establishing itself as a niche marketer without that sort of additional difficulty.
§ Mr. Evans
When the Secretary of State next meets the chairman of the Ford Motor Company (UK), will he tell him that Pilkington Brothers of St. Helens is a major glass supplier to that company and that the best way of safeguarding its supplies for the future would be for the chairman to use his influence in the City of London to ensure that Pilkington remains an independent company?