HC Deb 24 March 1965 vol 709 cc97-8W
78 and 79. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Minister of Aviation (1) by what criteria he judges whether contracts for the Anglo-French Concord project should be placed in third countries; and whether he is satisfied that this has resulted in the ordering of equipment which is indisputably better than the French or British equivalent;

(2) if he will give an assurance that British firms are being given preference to American or other foreign firms for the provision of radio and electronic equipment for the Concord aircraft in all cases where the equipment meets the required standards and French equipment is regarded as unsuitable; and in which instances, and for what reasons, decisions have so far been taken to place orders for such equipment outside France or the United Kingdom.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Decisions about the supply of major items of equipment are taken jointly with the French authorities on the advice of the main contractors. The agreed policy is to select British or French equipment save in the most exceptional circumstances. The main criteria to which we have regard are performance, reliability, costs, delivery times and customer preferences. Apart from certain cases in which American firms are associated with British and/or French firms in the development of suitable equipment or systems for the aircraft, the only order approved by my Department and the French authorities for placing outside the United Kingdom or France is with an American company for radio compass equipment for the two prototype aircraft. The choice for this very small order was made because the equipment in question was very considerably cheaper than the nearest British or French offer. This selection in no way implies that this equipment will be chosen or will indeed be necessary for the pre-production or production aircraft.