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Rolls-Royce Sub-Contractors (Development Assistance)

Volume 827: debated on Monday 29 November 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will now take further measures to aid sub-contractors to Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited following the liquidation of Rolls-Royce Limited, in view of their need to fund new technical development and expansion.

No, Sir. It is for Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd. to arrange for continuity of supply of components for its future programmes.

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, and reminding him that the renegotiation of the RB211 contract assured continued employment in the regions in the sub-contractual sector, may I ask my hon. Friend whether he could expedite the price negotiations for the assets of Rolls-Royce Limited, because many millions of £s and the expansion capability of sub-contractors are involved? These are two important questions.

My hon. Friend will appreciate that my power to influence the speed of these negotiations is limited. I assure him that the Government will do their best to help in any way they can. But it is a very complex calculation and it will take time.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is not good enough to leave this matter to Rolls-Royce entirely but that the Government should give some indication of future prospects? Is he further aware that the anxieties of the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Wilkinson) are shared by many employees of sub-contracting firms and Rolls-Royce itself and that it would help to give assurance if we could have the early issue of a White Paper?

The White Paper will be issued very soon. I simply do not follow what the hon. Gentleman implies about giving assurances. I am not in a position to put a value on these assets, and that is the crux of the problem.