67. Mr. Bitten
asked the Minister of Technology if he will make a statement on the expected dates of the trial flights of Concorde 001 and Concorde 002; what additional costs are estimated to have arisen from recent delays; and whether the total development costs will now exceed the previous estimate.
§ Mr. Benn
For the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Gentleman to my reply to the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) on 14th October.
As regards cost, the estimate of £500 million announced in 1966 at price levels then prevailing has since that date been affected by various factors including delay resulting from development difficulties. I should make it clear, first, that in a programme of this complexity and magnitude the total estimate is an aggregate of a vast number of items which are subject to continuous fluctuation; and second, that the delay in the flights of the prototypes will not necessarily result in equivalent delays throughout the programme. Costs are kept under continuous reviews between the two Governments.—[Vol. 770, c. 8–10.]