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

The right hon. Gentleman spoke of a "deplorable" delay. I think that that was a pretty deplorable contribution. First, I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's interest and am glad to have at last his involvement and his direct addressing of the problems affecting 7,000 people, some of whom are his constituents. That is the first time that I have heard directly from the right hon. Gentleman about their concerns and interests.

The right hon. Gentleman should inform himself better about the realities of the situation. He referred to investment during the term of an earlier Government. What happened to the money that this Government provided? It went in losses because no provision was made for new products. Because the world was becoming more competitive, products also had to be sold at increasingly lower prices. Profits went and losses were incurred. That is why—I now answer the question of the hon. Member for Warrington, North (Mr. Hoyle)—700 redundancies have already been announced and I fear that they will have to proceed. I hope that thereafter—as a result of the new management, new organisation and new opportunities—there will be more jobs and not fewer. I have already drawn attention to Bombardier's record with Canadair.

Belfast city airport is included in the arrangement, so it will remain separate. There are commitments, and there are safeguards against any deals being done to the disadvantage of Northern Ireland. As the right hon. Gentleman rightly said, the airport is an important Northern Ireland asset. I can also confirm that Bombardier will be involved, not only in the design of the regional jet but its manufacture.