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Rolls-Royce Spey Engine (East Kilbride)

Volume 24: debated on Wednesday 26 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has had any consultation with Rolls-Royce Ltd. concerning future development of the Spey engine at East Kilbride; and if he will make a statement.

I am concerned to hear that reduced demand is causing difficulties. However, future developments are a matter for the commercial judgment of the company.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply. Does he not accept that my constituents and Opposition Members are astonished that the Government have adopted such a complacent attitude to an industry that is vital not only to East Kilbride but to the whole of the Scottish economy? Should he not do something about the problem faced by Rolls-Royce over the development of the Spey engine, which was promised by the Government and is not taking place in the way that it should?

The Government stand ready to assist any project that involves new capital investment. We would be prepared to consider any such project that turned up. As the hon. Gentleman will know, the aircraft industry is having a difficult time. If the commercial problems that Rolls-Royce faces lead it to experience difficulties, that is a matter for the company to solve.

Surely the Secretary of State realises that orders for Spey engines do not just "turn up". They are the result of the Government's policy and the making available of resources to the Services and the airlines, the financial limits of which the Government strictly control. The Government have a direct responsibility to act.

I am not sure what the hon. Gentleman is getting at. The Government cannot be accused of being ungenerous in the funds given either to the airlines or to the Ministry of Defence.