asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the current output and product development of De Lorean Cars Ltd.
I understand that the company is currently producing approximately 80 cars per day, a rate which would enable it to meet the target of 20,000 cars that it originally set itself for 1982.The company will continue to develop and improve the DMC 12 to meet the demands of the market and I understand that it has plans to introduce, at some later stage, a new saloon car.
Does the Minister accept that it is very much to be hoped that sales will catch up with output and lead to long-term, stable jobs in the Province? As regards public accountability, given that £80 million of taxpayers' money is involved, will the Minister explain why he has failed to tell the House that three members of the audit committee have financial interests in the company according to the Minister's paper, theSunday Telegraph? In addition, will he explain why $18 million of taxpayers' money has been spirited abroad to a Panamanian company to pay Lotus Cars, which is in Norfolk? While we want permanent jobs, we also want full and proper accountability of taxpayers' money.
The hon. Gentleman's information about sales and production is erroneous, because sales are running ahead of production. The same comment might well apply to the hon. Gentleman's other allegations. I ask him and others who attempt to detract from this exercise not to do so, because they will damage employment prospects in Northern Ireland.