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British Leyland

Volume 975: debated on Monday 10 December 1979

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9.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he intends next to meet the senior management of British Leyland.

I see members of BL's senior management as and when the need arises.

When my right hon. Friend meets the senior management of British Leyland will he make it clear that it has no obligation to purchase high-price steel from the British Steel Corporation, and that it may be in its best interests, in view of recent developments, to enter into long-term supply contracts with Continental suppliers?

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the figures published today showing the increased import penetration of foreign cars into Britain? Does he now realise that if British Leyland is to compete with foreign manufacturers it is necessary for it to have a large injection of capital so that it may produce the new models which will sell in Britain and on the export markets?

I have explained that that BL plan is now before me. I shall report to the House the Government's decision as soon as possible.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the car industry's output has decreased from nearly 2 million cars 10 years ago to barely 1 million this year? Will he also bear in mind that that is affecting both the private and public sectors in the steel industry because of a lack of orders from the domestic car industry? What chance does my right hon. Friend see of bringing more work to our steel industry?

Yes, Sir, I realise that. Many firms and industries are interdependent.