HC Deb 07 December 1988 vol 143 c297
3. Mr. Richard Page

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects to make an announcement on possible launch-aid for the Rolls-Royce 211-524L engine.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Robert Atkins)

Discussions are continuing with Rolls-Royce on its launch-aid application for the RB211-524J and 524L engines. I expect the Government to be in a position to make an announcement on the application early next year.

Mr. Page

I am disappointed that an announcement will not be available today. I remind my hon. Friend that this engine application will produce the most powerful civil aviation engine in the world, one that will have considerable world markets. As our manufacturing base, although growing and expanding, is still regretfully rather small-as witnessed by our balance of payments problems will my hon. Friend use his considerable charm, influence and persuasion to ensure that, however it is funded, the application goes ahead?

Mr. Atkins

I am delighted by my hon. Friend's question. My hon. Friend, along with me and those who appreciate the value of Rolls-Royce, recognises that the potential for this engine is not in doubt. Rolls-Royce has a deserved reputation for excellence, which this derivative will enhance. I agree that Rolls-Royce has found the right market. I hope that the engine will be successful.

Mr. Greg Knight

Will my hon. Friend confirm that, with or without launch-aid, this is an excellent engine and that Rolls-Royce has an excellent safety record?

Mr. Atkins

Of course I agree with my hon. Friend. I paid a visit to Rolls-Royce in his constituency and recognise the importance of the work force. As usual, my hon. Friend puts the case for his constituents and for Rolls-Royce with the persuasion that we have come to expect.