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Battle Tank

Volume 978: debated on Friday 15 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what consultations he has had with the French and German Ministers of Defence about the joint development and production of a new battle tank; and why he has in consequence decided that the procurement of a new tank for the British Army should proceed unilaterally.

Discussions with the FRG on a possible collaborative future main battle tank broke down in 1977 after several years of negotiations. Since then work has been proceeding on project definition studies for a new main battle tank, MBT 80, which, when it enters service in the late 1980s, will fully match the Soviet threat. This is considered the most appropriate eventual replacement for Chieftain though, in the meantime, we

NATIONALISED INDUSTRIES
Subsidies compensation and other payments made in the period April 1974 to March 1979 £ millionCapital debt and revenue deficits written-off in the period April 1974 to January 1980 £ million
Outturn prices1979 survey pricesOutturn prices1979 survey prices
National Coal Board622·6846·3
Electricity (England and Wales)526·7792·0
Electricity (Scotland)114·2148·7
British Gas Corporation70·6112·5
British National Oil Corporation
British Steel Corporation155·4174·8
Post Office439·8659·329·741·5
British Airways Board—*
British Airports Authority22·729·8
British Railways Board2,417·03,129·3188·7330·8
British Transport Docks Board
British Waterways Board64·277·7
National Freight Corporation82·295·353·153·1
National Bus Company72·488·2
Scottish Transport Group32·539·7
British Aerospace50·050·0
British Shipbuilders38·440·9
Totals4553·36,109·7426·9600·2
The above totals represent about £250 (£335 at 1979 survey prices) per United Kingdom household.
* A Bill is before the House providing for the write-off of £160 million of British Airways public dividend capital.
A Bill is before the House providing for the cancellation of Government investment in British Aerospace; and the Government have also announced that the British Shipbuilders commencing capital debt will be set at zero. The precise amounts of the write-offs involved have yet to be determined

are studying further ways of improving our armoured capability in the short term. We are, nevertheless, contiuing to keep in close touch with our Allies, including the United States, in the search for common elements of a new tank. We shall take their plans into account when we make a decision on whether to proceed with full development on MBT 80 towards the end of this year.