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 to the hon. Gentleman, who speaks on behalf of himself and of his hon. Friends. He has a direct constituency interest, but everyone would recognise that Shorts affects the interests of all in Northern Ireland because of its important position.

I hope that there is a difference between what happened with Harland and Wolff and these negotiations. The management buy-out and the involvement of employees gave rise to a more complicated procedure, with the prospectus and the offer of shares in the new company. My best expectation is that if, as I hope, we are successful with the European Commission and the Office of Fair Trading, it will be possible for the matter to be concluded within three months.

As for training and the future of the company, this has been a difficult time because the employees, perhaps more than anyone else, knew how serious the company's position was and had been for some time. They knew about the large losses that were being made. If it had gone on as it was, the company had no future. Now it definitely has one—a future in which the Government and Bombardier are prepared to invest. Most importantly of all, provided that all who work in Shorts are committed to ensuring that they make the maximum contribution, if these are to be new investments, new facilities and new products, this will be an exciting development for Shorts and for Northern Ireland.