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Motor Vehicles (Imports)

Volume 927: debated on Wednesday 2 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that measures have been taken by Government to reduce the import of motor vehicles to a level which takes account of the levels of unemployment in those areas of the United Kingdom in which the domestic motor industry is situated.

The level of imports reflects the present inability of the United Kingdom industry to produce sufficient motor vehicles to meet both domestic and overseas demand. This requires therefore in the United Kingdom both a higher utilisation of existing capacity and an increased outlay on productive capacity. The Government approved last summer £100 million loan finance for the sole publicly-owned company of British Leyland as envisaged by the Ryder Report. As my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Industry said on 28th February—[Vol. 927, c. 28]—the criteria on which further finance would be made available to British Leyland were laid down by the then Prime Minister in April 1974, and that remains the position. The problem of under-utilisation of capacity is for management and unions throughout the industry to resolve.