Short Brothers plc

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 7th June 1989.

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Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 3:31 pm, 7th June 1989

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's comments about Bombardier and the decisions that we have made. Anybody who has any idea of the history and present position of Shorts and who thinks that its problems will be solved merely by pushing more money at them without changing ownership is mistaken. It is absolutely vital to give it the structure of a larger group, within the aerospace world. If we do not we shall simply be pouring more money after the substantial sums that we have already spent. I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman would have reflected on what the structure was that led to the calls for such substantial sums of money. Today, I have announced assistance of £780 million for that. Putting more money in without a substantial change in the arrangements would have been inconceivable.

I am satisfied of Bombardier's commitment to making a success of Shorts as a single company in Northern Ireland. That is one of the commitments into which Bombardier has entered. It will seek to maintain in totality the expertise, research and design development, which it sees as assets and values.

Bombardier took over Canadair which, at the time, was a loss-making, state-owned company in Canada that employed 5,000. Under Bombardier's leadership and ownership, within three years the company is now profitable and employs 6,500–1,500 more than when it was taken over. That must be real encouragement. Anybody who knows the chairman, M. Beaudoin—I have seen him in Belfast today—will know the high price that he attaches to communication with the people who work in the company.