Mr George Park: Are the Government prepared to support the approaches that have been made by the car constructors' association in Europe to do something on an EEC basis against the penetration of Japanese products?
Mr George Park: The Secretary of State for Scotland was at pains to draw the parallel between the present situation and what happened when Chrysler opened the Talbot firm. There are parallels, but I am forced to the conclusion that the Secretary of State for Scotland knew nothing about these parallels and the weaknesses in the declaration of intent until he looked at the speech written for him by his civil...
Mr George Park: Does the Minister agree that it would hardly make sense if Nissan-Datsun, assuming that it is located in an assisted area, were to receive 40 per cent. grants towards the cost of automation, while such assistance is denied to companies in the constituency of the hon. Member for Meriden (Mr. Mills) and in mine which will be competing with Nissan-Datsun? That sort of approach does not add up.
Mr George Park: Will not the Secretary of State agree that the only entrepreneurial skill that we have seen in recent months in the West Midlands is that of shutting down factories and transferring their plants elsewhere?
Mr George Park: Does the Minister agree that his answer to the original question illustrated the futility of voluntary arrangements with Japan under which the figures agreed are continually overshot and then put down to an accident? Is he aware that these accidents keep happening and that they always happen to Britain, never to Japan?
Mr George Park: Does not the Minister agree that people might work harder if they were offered the same job security as Japanese companies extend to their employees?
Mr George Park: Hon. Members speak in the House as they find. I would, however, urge the hon. Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Thornton) to contact the personnel manager at Talbot, who said recently that the notion of the car worker as a lazy layabout looking for the least excuse to stop work was completely outdated. That may be the situation within his experience. It contrasts with the experience related...
Mr George Park: That is a risk that we have to take. Whether one has a bad burn or is scalded, it is still very painful. We must have agreement from the word "Go", and if Nissan does not want to accept it, it will have to move elsewhere. Directly or indirectly, the car industry accounts for about 11 per cent. of total manufacturing employment, and we should recognise, as other countries do, that if it is to...
Mr George Park: No.
Mr George Park: I had experience of this in Coventry on an earlier occasion. It happened to take place in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North-West. Jaguar came to the city council, of which I was then leader, and asked for planning permission to put a paint shop alongside the Jaguar assembly. We thought that that was a sensible idea. Despite great opposition from people in the...
Mr George Park: I shall tell my hon. Friend that in a minute. We now understand that it is coming back to Coventry because the paint facility at Castle Vale may be closed down. Situations of that kind constantly occur. The TR7, to which reference has been made, was transferred from Canley, in Coventry, up to Merseyside and then brought back again. It was then transferred temporarily to Cowley. Finally, it...
Mr George Park: Does the Minister agree that there can be many schemes, but if the cost of borrowing is outside the reach especially of smaller businesses, all the confidence in the world will not put the icing on that cake?
Mr George Park: Will the Minister comment on the reported placing of a contract for submarine sonar equipment with a French firm when British companies say that they can do the job equally well and cheaper?
Mr George Park: What serious consideration has been given to the local content in cars being brought into the country? Other countries seem able to impose certain percentage levels, whereas we do not seem even to have considered the possibility seriously.
Mr George Park: What estimates has the Minister made of the cost of effective protection against nuclear weapons?
Mr George Park: It is unfortunate that earlier speakers did not take note that, in giving our thanks to my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) for providing the opportunity afforded by today's debate, the Minister was unable in the time he felt was available to cover all the points. The fact that there are more hon. Members wishing to contribute to the debate means that we owe a debt of...
Mr George Park: Will the Minister consider carrying out an examination of the economic justification for Severn-Trent setting up its own machinery for handling bills to its customers, instead of directing them through the local authorities as previously?
Mr George Park: Does my hon. Friend agree that when the corporate plan was put to Government and accepted, built into it—so a denial of knowledge is no good now—was the disposal of Bathgate?
Mr George Park: Does the Chief Secretary agree that a proper activity for him and his colleagues and Treasury officials, and one which we should expect them to undertake, is to keep a close eye on assets being sold, for instance by BL, to ensure that the best possible deal is made so that public money can come back and be re-invested elsewhere?
Mr George Park: Will the hon. Gentleman reconsider his reply to the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Ward)? He may conclude that it was an extremely complacent answer, since hundreds of redundancies are to take place in Rolls-Royce factories throughout the country. The Minister's replies to me and to the work force have been singularly unhelpful up to now.