Rover

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th March 1994.

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Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield 12:00 am, 9th March 1994

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the average profit or loss per vehicle when the Rover car company was a nationalised industry.

Photo of Hon. Tim Sainsbury Hon. Tim Sainsbury , Hove

The British Leyland group did not produce figures for profitability per vehicle for its constituent businesses. From 1975 until privatisation, the taxpayer invested about £3.5 billion in British Leyland. At the end of that period, Rover had trading tax losses of £1.6 billion.

Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield

I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply. Does he agree that the British car industry was bankrupt under the weight of unions, nationalisation and socialism? Does he also agree with me that during the past 15 years of Conservative Government this country has never had it so good? [Interruption.] Even the lot opposite have given up Lambeth and cloth caps for Chelsea and baseball caps.

Photo of Hon. Tim Sainsbury Hon. Tim Sainsbury , Hove

If we had not reversed the policies of the Labour party, instead of British car production being at the best level since 1972, it might have disappeared altogether.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

On Rover, has the Minister seen the television programmes in which executives of Honda were interviewed, and said repeatedly that they were treated shabbily, and in one case treated dishonourably, by the British? Do Ministers have a view on that? Will they stand up and say what they believe has happened in that specific case?

Photo of Hon. Tim Sainsbury Hon. Tim Sainsbury , Hove

I fear that I may have rather less time to watch television than the hon. Gentleman and I did not see the television programme to which he referred. As my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade confirmed this afternoon, the Government welcome inward investment from Japan and, indeed, from all other countries.