HC Deb 28 November 1989 vol 162 c575
14. Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will outline the amount of defence exports achieved since 1979.

Mr. Alan Clark

The total value of new contracts signed for United Kingdom defence exports from 1979 to the end of 1988 is approximately £31 billion at historic prices.

Mr. Amess

Is my hon. Friend aware that many jobs in Basildon depend on defence contracts? Will he tell the House what he believes would he the impact on defence exports of the establishment of the defence conversion agency, as advocated by the Labour party?

Mr. Clark

It is absolutely absurd that the most successful parts of British industry in exports should be forced to desist from what they do well and be diverted into work that is thought to be socially acceptable—whoever is the judge of "socially acceptable." It illustrates why the Labour party is so reluctant to go into detail about the agency in its various policy proposals.