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British Leyland (Tractor Interests)

Volume 13: debated on Thursday 26 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the sale of the tractor interests of British Leyland; which companies have made offers for purchase of any part of those interests; what experience these companies have had in the motor industry; whether the management of these companies have had relevant experience; and, if so, with which company.

BL has made the decision to sell its tractor interests, and a purchaser has been identified, on a commercial basis, and it would not be appropriate for the Government to be involved. It is not for the Government to comment on the experience of companies or their management in any particular field.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what has been the total public investment in the tractor manufacturing interests of British Leyland over the past four years; if he will list the improvements that have been made in each tractor factory as a result of this investment; whether there are any arrangements for this investment to be repaid in any form; and whether, following the sale of those interests, it will be the responsibility of British Leyland to repay that investment or whether it will be the responsibility of the purchasers.

Government funding of BL is provided for the company's investment and restructuring programmes generally. Details of other public investment in BL tractor production—for example, by way of regional development grants—are not available except at disproportionate cost. It is for the company to reveal the amount of investment in any particular activity, and the improvements which this has provided.The Government funds BL by way of equity and, as with any form of equity participation, by the public or private sector, repayment comes in the form of the sale of the shares or dividend payment. Repayment of Government investment is therefore only feasible when BL returns to profitability. The Government expect BL to reinvest in its business the proceeds from disposals.