HC Deb 19 October 1966 vol 734 cc39-40W
1. Mr. John Lee

asked the Minister of Aviation what financial assistance was provided for the privately-owned aircraft industry, including airframe construction, engine construction and research during 1965; and what were the profits after taxation of all the concerns that received financial assistance.

Mr. Snow

The only payments classified as assistance which the Government makes to privately-owned firms in the industry are those for the purpose of assisting in the development and proving of transport aircraft. During the financial year 1965–66, a total of £3.5 million was paid in this way. The recipients were the British Aircraft Corporation Ltd., Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd., Rolls Royce Ltd., and Britten-Norman Ltd.

The contracts governing this assistance all provide for the Government to share in the proceeds of sales. The figures quoted do not include certain minor terminal payments, totalling £50,000 in all, on a number of old completed contracts.

Total expenditure by the Government in the industry is, of course, considerably greater. Payments in 1965–66 on the Concord, for work done under development contracts in aid of the agreement between the British and French Governments, amounts to £19 million, divided between the British Aircraft Corporation and Bristol Siddeley Engines. Expenditure in 1965–66 on military account on aircraft development and construction totalled upwards of £300 million, of which about a third was expenditure on research and development spread throughout the industry as a whole.

The profits after taxation of the companies who received assistance (and where applicable after deducting profits relating to minority interests in subsidiary companies) were as follows:

British Aircraft Corporation Ltd., 52 weeks to 26th December, 1964 981,000
(accounts for 1965 have not yet been published.)

Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd., year to 31st December, 1965 2,532,000
Rolls Royce Ltd., year to 31st December, 1965 4,497,000
(Britten-Norman Ltd. is an exempt private company and as such is excused from filing accounts.)

These profit figures relate, of course, to the turnover of the companies as a whole and not simply to that part carried out on Government account. In the case of Rolls Royce, too, profits from activities other than aviation are included. The total annual turnover of the three companies listed above is in the region of £300 million.