HC Deb 07 December 1978 vol 959 cc732-3W
Mr. Craig

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the present and future prospects for Short Brothers with particular regard to the manufacture of aircraft and guided missiles and the design capacity of the firm in respect of such manufactures.

Mr. Concannon:

I am pleased to be able to announce that the Government have now approved the five-year corporate plan submitted by Short Brothers Limited. Under the plan, which the company prepared in conjunction with a firm of international management consultants, Short's will continue its three main activities of aircraft production, manufacture of aerostructures for other companies and the design and production of guided weapons.

Despite the company's financial losses in recent years, the Government have confidence in its future and plan to invest some £60 million up to 1982 to allow a major capital re-equipment programme which, by helping to increase productivity and by expanding the company's technical capability in all areas, should enable the company to achieve a return to profitability by that date.

The plan recognises the great importance of maintaining good industrial relations, and the necessary changes will be implemented in full consultation with the trade unions concerned, which have already indicated their general satisfaction with the plan. The work force at Short's is expected to increase by approximately 300 to 6,500 by 1982. Progress against the corporate plan will be systematically monitored and subject to regular reviews.