asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the National Enterprise Board has sought approval to purchase Fairey (Nuclear and Military) Engineers, of Crossley Road, Stockport.
Briefly, Sir, Yes, Sir.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. As he has recently met the shop stewards of Fairey, would he not agree that they are extremely keen that the firm should be taken over by the NEB and not be subjected to the letdowns that come from private industry and private capital?
I have had meetings with the chairman of the confederated committee of unions on this matter and he has put that view very strongly to me. I have also received letters from a large number of my constituents who are employed at Fairey, and they make the same point equally strongly.
Is the Minister satisfied that this firm has a continuing prospect of success?
As one of the arguments advanced for the NEB is that it is filling a gap not filled by the private sector when it is unwilling to make such an investment, will the Minister tell us what the NEB is doing using taxpayers' money to bid for a company for which there is not one but several private-sector buyers?
It is following the guidelines laid down for it, which include extending public ownership into profitable private enterprise, and it is respecting the wishes of the work force, which wants the NEB to take over the firm.