Titanium

Oral Answers to Questions — Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23 July 1979.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 12:00, 23 July 1979

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on his negotiations with ICI to retain a British titanium capacity.

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

The maintenance of supplies of titanium is primarily a matter for the users of this material and potential suppliers.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Is it Government policy to have a titanium capacity?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

I am sure that it would be valuable to have such capacity, but the best method of achieving it is a matter for discussion and discussions are proceeding.

Photo of Mr Frank Hooley Mr Frank Hooley , Sheffield, Heeley

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that the Government have no responsibility for essential raw materials for British industry? Is he aware that this is an essential raw material in high technology industries?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

The prime responsibility in this matter rests with Rolls-Royce, which must assure itself of these supplies. There are also other opportunities with other European users, and I believe that there may be scope for collaborative ventures. Certainly a wide range of options is open.

Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Industry)

Did not the Secretary of State say in his recent statement about the NEB that this was an important matter? If so, is not the Under-Secretary's answer inadequate? Apart from being industrially important, is not this material strategically important? Is there not a defence importance in particular which should not be so lightly dismissed?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

I do not believe that in any respect I have dismissed these matters. They are important issues, but, as I said, there is a wide range of possibilities which should be explored. We believe that a commercial solution is the best approach rather than looking to the NEB.

Photo of Mr Michael Grylls Mr Michael Grylls , Surrey North West

May I congratulate my hon. Friend on his caution in this matter and urge him to continue to be cautious and not allow the Government to be rushed into providing assistance here?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. His enthusiasm for and interest in these matters is well known to the House.