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Volume 940: debated on Monday 28 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he will next have discussions with French Ministers about the Concorde programme.

I expect to discuss the Concorde project with the French Minister of Transport in due course, but no date has yet been fixed.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he appreciate that we must keep closely in touch with the French? Now that we have made a breakthrough on sales of Concorde, is the industry equipped to make sure that when we get further orders we can go into production?

I agree with my hon. Friend. I managed to have a brief word with M. Cavaillé when I was in New York for the Concorde inaugural. We shall keep in touch on these matters, and the conditions on which further Concordes could be built have been made clear.

What discussions has the Minister had with the Chairman of British Aerospace about making some of the unsold Concordes available on lease?

Leasing arrangements have been under very close consideration indeed. The hon. Gentleman will know that a leasing arrangement has already gone forward with regard to Singapore Airlines, and we are pursuing other possibilities extremely vigorously.

Is a profit on the production of further Concordes one of the necessary requirements before further production is authorised?

No further loss to the taxpayer—something that the hon. Gentleman, with his party's financial stringency, would no doubt endorse.