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Aircraft Industry (Exports)

Volume 884: debated on Monday 13 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish the export figures for the aircraft industry in the years 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Net exports of aerospace products were £201 million in 1970, £221 million in 1971, £287 million in 1972 and £343 million in 1973. Figures are not yet available for 1974. All of these figures exclude guided weapons which were not separately distinguished in the trade statistics prior to 1973. The figures quoted are net exports as they exclude the imported value of re-exports.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Does he recognise that exports by the aerospace industry represents about 50 per cent. of its output? Does he believe that this fine performance will improve under the Government's proposals for nationalisation?

The answer to that question is "Yes". On the details of what nationalisation will involve, I ask the hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members to await the announcement that is expected fairly soon by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry.

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that that constitutes failure to the nation, in the terms that he usually uses when making the case for nationalisation?

No. I am well aware that failure to the nation is only one of the reasons for nationalisation. This industry, which has a good export record, is also highly dependent on Government assistance.