HC Deb 20 April 1982 vol 22 cc68-9W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much public money has been advanced to British Leyland in each of the past three years; how much of this has been earmarked for investment; how much has been spent each year on investment; how many plants have been closed down and with what loss of jobs; and how many plants have been re-equipped and with what loss of jobs.

Mr. Butcher

Government assistance for BL in each of the past three financial years has been as follows:

Financial year Equity Regional Development Grant† Interest Relief Grant
£ million £ million £ million
1979–80 150 1.6 0.13
1980–81 300 2.1 0.02
1981–82 520 *2.9 0.12
* to 31 December 1981
† Information about payments of regional development grant over £25,000 has, since 1 October 1974, been published quarterly in British Business magazine—this is the source of these figures—and for the figures for interest relief grant. The totals of regional development grant individually worth less than £25,000 cannot be provided without disproportionate cost.

Details of payments for special employment measures for BL companies are not available without disproportionate cost. Assistance provided for research and development work is commercially confidential and details are not published.

The Government's general equity funding to BL is not hypothecated to individual projects, but is made available to assist in the funding of the company's overall restructuring and new model investment programmes, which are set out in annual corporate plans. Reports on BL's 1980, 1981 and 1982 corporate plans are available in the Library of the House. Capital expenditure by BL has been as follows:

£ million
1979 258.9
1980 284.1

SourceBL's 1980 annual report and accounts. The 1981 accounts will be published shortly, and will be laid before Parliament under the provisions of section 3(5) of the Industry Act 1980. A figure for capital expenditure for 1981 cannot be made available until then.

Total BL manpower has been reduced as follows:

end-1979 169,000
end-1980 141,000
end-1981 119,000

SourceReport to Parliament on 1982 corporate plan, December 1981.

Job losses at BL have not only occurred because of specific plant closures, but also because as a whole BL has been reducing its cost base to a level which is more realistic given current and forecast future production levels. Disposal of non-mainstream assets has also occurred. During the period in question, the following main plants or parts of plants have been closed—with redundancies directly attributable to these closures in brackets.

  • 1979 — AEC Truck and Bus plant, Southall (2,150)
  • 1980 —Park Royal Bus plant, London (570) MG Car Plant, Abingdon (900) Vehicle Assembly Facilities, Canley (5,100) Some car assembly facilities, Castle Bromwich (2,660)
  • 1981 —Car Assembly plant at Seneffe, Belgium (2,250) Foundry facilities at Wellingborough and Leeds (560)

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