HC Deb 03 February 1994 vol 236 cc1025-6
Q5. Mr. Oppenheim

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 3 February.

The Prime Minister

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave some moments ago.

Mr. Oppenheim

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it was not the sale of Rover to BMW that lost Britain the chance of having a genuine global player on world car markets? Rather, that chance was lost during the era of misguided Government direction, industrial practices and unfettered union power when British Leyland became the butt of international music-hall jokes. Can my right hon. Friend imagine at that time anyone wanting British Leyland as a gift, let alone paying £800 million for the company?

The Prime Minister

Rover certainly has been transformed, and I congratulate the work force and the management on their efforts to bring that about, as well as the investment that has been put into the company by British Aerospace. Rover now produces a world-quality product, and it is winning market shares in extremely competitive markets.

As my hon. Friend said, the contrast with the 1970s could be scarcely sharper. Mass meetings at that time were addressed by Red Robbo, and taxpayers' money was being poured into a bottomless pit. Rover is now a world beater and it will become better.

Mr. Caborn

Will the Prime Minister tell the House whether he can give assurances to individuals, companies or organisations about the disbursement of the millennium fund and the lottery fund for the construction of sporting facilities?

The Prime Minister

No, we have given no commitments on that yet. We are looking at the establishment of a committee to determine how the millennium fund will be disbursed, and it will be a considerable period before we are in a position to say what money will be disbursed and where. Consideration of the matter is still in its infancy and it will be some time before we are able to make an announcement.