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British Leyland

Volume 22: debated on Monday 26 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on productivity in British Leyland.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark) on 22 February 1982. I have nothing further to add.

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the production of the British Leyland Metro has increased from 7ยท7 per man-year in 1980 to 22 per man-year in 1982? Is not this welcome improvement due to more flexible working practices, less rigid demarcation lines, a more determined management and a more realistic attitude on the shop floor?

All those improvements have occurred at British Leyland, especially at the Longbridge plant. My hon. Friend will be interested to know that British Leyland generally had a 30 per cent. increase in productivity during the past year, but almost a 100 per cent. increase at the Longbridge plant, which must be welcomed.

Does my hon. Friend accept that British Leyland productivity has failed to increase during recent years because of the lack of a market? Does he welcome the reports that that market will lift off, and will he do everything possible to ensure that British Leyland increases its share of the market in these difficult times?

Within the confines of decisions that can be made at Department of Industry level, we shall do everything that we can to ensure that British Leyland's corporate plan and its plans for commercial vehicles receive all due support. We look forward to the commercial division achieving its targets when demand returns.