Titanium

Oral Answers to Questions — Oral Answers to Questions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1979.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 12:00 am, 12th November 1979

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied with the capacity of British industry to produce titanium.

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

Yes, Sir. There are plans to replace and extend the present capacity with a new plant to be commissioned in the early 1980s.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Can we take it that the Government are firmly committed to a British titanium capacity? What is the time scale involved?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the formation of a company—Cleveland Titanium Limited—which will consist of the National Enter-price Board, Rolls-Royce and Imperial Metal Industries Ltd. The Government hope to see further private sector involvement. I have already given the early 1980s as the time scale.

Photo of Mr Nicholas Budgen Mr Nicholas Budgen , Wolverhampton South West

Will my hon. Friend explain to the House why it is necessary for the National Enterprise Board to get involved in this industry at all?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

This was felt to be the most convenient way, so as to move in these matters quickly. I make it plain to my hon. Friend that we seek to bring the National Enterprise Board into this, as into other matters, to get private sector involvement as soon as possible.

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

As the market forces which the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) knows and loves are apparently failing the nation in this respect, will the Minister assure us that the public enterprise involvement through the NEB will be retained and not sold off after the taxpayer has paid for this important national enterprise?

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

I explained that we want the National Enterprise Board to find private sector involvement to replace its stake as soon as possible. That is part of our continuing philosophy.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of certain aspects of the reply, I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.