3. Mr. Robinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the position of both Harland and Wolff, and Shorts plc, in relation to the Government's plans to privatise the companies.
§ Mr. Viggers
The Government believe that the best prospects for the future of Harland and Wolff and Shorts lie within the private sector and they are seeking purchasers for the two companies on this basis. Negotiations are continuing with possible acquirers of Harland and Wolff; these include senior managers at the yard who are considering a management/employee buy-out.
With regard to Shorts, an advertisement was placed on 17 November inviting parties to register their interest in buying Shorts with the Government's merchant bank advisers, Kleinwort Benson, by 2 December.