HC Deb 20 May 1998 vol 312 cc938-9
2. Mr. Barry Jones (Alyn and Deeside)

If he will make a statement on the prospects for the aerospace industry in Wales. [41414]

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Ron Davies)

Earlier this year, the Government demonstrated their support for the aerospace industry with the grant of launch aid to British Aerospace. That public-private partnership will secure more than 2,000 jobs throughout the United Kingdom and will provide a significant boost to British Aerospace at Broughton in my hon. Friend's constituency. I am therefore confident that prospects for the industry are extremely good.

Mr. Jones

I thank my right hon. Friend, his Department and his Ministers for the support that they have given to the industry in my constituency. Does he agree that the £123 million given by the Government to Airbus in my constituency means that it looks as though the next century will be greatly successful? Does he know that my constituents working for Raytheon Jets are desperate for the Astor project to be won for them? Is there any way in which the Welsh Office can help in respect of the Astor project?

Mr. Davies

I shall certainly look carefully at the case my hon. Friend puts to me. When I visited the Raytheon facility with my hon. Friend, I was impressed by the attitude of both management and unions and the way in which they have come together in partnership. The partnership between management and unions at Raytheon and the public-private partnership that is largely responsible for the success of the British Aerospace project demonstrate that partnership is the way forward. I am confident that the two successes in my hon. Friend's constituency show the value of that approach. I am personally confident that it is good for my hon. Friend's constituency, good for Wales and good for Britain as a whole.

Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip-Northwood)

In addition to the good news about launch aid for the A340 500 and 600 aircraft in Broughton in north Wales, in the constituency of the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones), is it not welcome news that the pre-contract agreement between British Aerospace and Boeing allocates several hundred million pounds-worth of work to British Aerospace—it is to be hoped including at Broughton—in the event of the Royal Air Force procuring the C 17 heavy lifter, provided that the strategic defence review confirms that procurement?

Mr. Davies

Military procurement is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, but I am conscious that the hon. Gentleman has shown a close interest in the project and I am grateful for his support this afternoon.