Chrysler Uk Limited (Linwood Works)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd February 1976.

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Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury 12:00 am, 2nd February 1976

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The matter is important, because the whole credibility of the Government is at stake. The Government having said that this money will be forthcoming to Chrysler UK Limited only on condition that industrial relations improve, it proves that their word means nothing if at this stage they cannot carry out that intention.

The matter is urgent because meetings are taking place at present. If this House is not to have its authority challenged, it must immediately debate whether it still wishes to proceed with the grant of the £162 million, otherwise the House will have lost control of its own expenditure when a condition attached to that expenditure will not, or may not, be met. It is urgent that the House should make its decision known whether it still wishes to grant this money before final negotiations are concluded, since clearly the grant or non-grant of the money will have a dramatic effect on the conclusion of those negotiations and the future of Chrysler UK Limited.

I know that tomorrow would not be an ideal day for this debate, but although tomorrow will be a very sad day for many of us, it would not be a bad thing if it were possible to arrange the debate for Wednesday, since that would give time for the negotiations to be concluded. It may be that the debate would not have to take place if they could be satisfactorily settled before then. But in the event of continued deadlock, I suggest that, in what will be your very sad absence on that day, Mr. Speaker, it would be appropriate for the House to express its view whether it still wishes to make this grant to Chrysler.