HL Deb 20 July 1981 vol 423 cc6-7

2.53 p.m.

Viscount Hanworth

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they accept the principle that when, for example, very large sums of taxpayers' money have been given to British Leyland with the object of preventing bankruptcy and avoiding its side-effects on their suppliers, the company should so far as possible buy British engines and components.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, the Government have provided funding to British Leyland to assist the company's investment and restructuring programme, as the means by which British Leyland can return to viability. In their dealings with component suppliers British Leyland's stated policy is to acquire from United Kingdom firms whenever this is commercially and technically feasible. It is up to these firms to prove themselves competitive.

Viscount Hanworth

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that reply. Does he agree that in all such cases it is desirable where possible—and a certain penalty might be necessary—to buy British?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, in general I would not agree with the noble Lord. In the broad generality of the case it is necessary for British Leyland to purchase their components from the most competitive source.

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