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Power Plant

Volume 933: debated on Monday 13 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will consult with the Chairman of the NEB and the Chairman of C. A. Parsons Ltd. with a view to forming an industrial unit to specialize in the design and export of small-scale electrical generating equipment, particularly to developing countries.

The United Kingdom has considerable manufacturing capacity for small-scale generating equipment but a request from any company for assistance in forming a unit to produce such equipment would be considered on its merits.

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the record of the electricity generating equipment industry in world markets over the past couple of decades has not been particularly impressive? Does he agree that it may be a good idea to establish a unit for producing equipment particularly with a view to penetrating world markets, especially with smaller equipment?

There is a great deal in what my hon. Friend says. A major part of the controversy surrounding the Government's attempt to restructure the power plant industry is whether we can have an industry that is internationally competitive. This is not a matter of a single power station order or anything of that sort. We hope that we shall be successful, because if we are not internationally competitive we shall lose out to some of the major giants of the world.