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Volume 26: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what were the reasons for the decrease in the proposed participation by British industry in the Trident missile project; and if he will make a statement about remaining British industrial opportunities.

There is no question of a decrease. The position remains, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 11 March 1982, that United Kingdom firms will be allowed to compete on the same terms as United States industry for sub-contracts for the weapon system components for the programme as a whole.—[Vol. 19, c. 975.]

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will attempt to negotiate an offset agreement in connection with the purchase of the Trident missile system to supplement the provision already made for tendering by British sub-contractors.

No. The existing arrangements allow United Kingdom firms to compete on equal terms with their United States counterparts for work to meet both United States and United Kingdom requirements for the missile system. There can be no question, given the strategic importance of the system, of guaranteeing United Kingdom industry a specific proportion of the work, and firms must win orders on merit. Outside the Trident programme, the two-way street arrangements continue to provide wide ranging opportunities for United Kingdom industry to compete for other United States defence business. Recent successes on Hawk, AV8B and Rapier indicate that United Kingdom firms are making the most of these opportunities.