§ Mr. Cronin
asked the Minister of Aviation if he will make a statement on the cancellation of the Blue Water missile project, having regard to the efficiency of this missile, the public funds already spent on its development, and the redundancy caused by its cancellation.
§ Mr. Amery
The Government's examination of the expected cost of the defence programme over the coming years revealed the necessity for further economies. In these circumstances, and in view of the increasing number and yield of tactical nuclear weapons which will be available in the later 1960's, the Government decided to cancel Blue Water. Furthermore, hopes that the weapon would be adopted by other N.A.T.O. countries have not been realised. The efficiency of Blue Water was not in question.
In reaching its decision the Government weighed very carefully the fact that commitments approaching £25 million had already been incurred on the development of Blue Water. But they also had to have regard to the fact that to bring the weapon into service would have cost at least a further £50 million, possibly substantially more.
The Government are keenly aware of the shock caused by the cancellation of Blue Water, particularly to the British Aircraft Corporation and their employees at the English Electric Aviation factories at Stevenage and Luton. Happily, the redundancy problem is not proving as severe as was anticipated.