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Volume 87: debated on Wednesday 27 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his Department's policy on financial support for export contracts to Thailand.

My Department and others have a range of means of assisting United Kingdom companies exporting to Thailand. We shall continue to deploy financial assistance as effectively as possible in support of such exporters.

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the gratitude of my constituents who work for Leyland Bus for the efforts that he made on their behalf in relation to the deal to sell buses to the Bangkok mass transit system? In view of the recent lay-offs at Leyland Bus, will my right hon. Friend continue to press the case for that company, especially since it beat world-wide competition to achieve success in that tender? Any further financial support that he can give will be greatly appreciated.

We shall do what we can to help Leyland Bus. We have already offered substantial aid of some £20 million in support of Leyland's bid under the aid and trade Community budget. I have had several discussions with Thai Ministers about the project, and I was pleased that the Thai Foreign Minister recently replied to my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary saying that he was confident that his colleagues on the Thai Council of Ministers would continue to give the Leyland consortium every opportunity to present its ideas. That is a good bid, and I hope that some proposal will be successful.