HC Deb 16 April 1973 vol 855 cc17-8
13. Mr. Norman Lamont

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with the board of BSA; and whether he will make a statement.

31. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a further statement about BSA.

Mr. Chataway

As I informed the House on 19th March, proposals for the acquisition of BSA by Manganese Bronze Holdings Ltd. are subject to the agreement of the boards and shareholders of the two companies.—[Vol. 853, c. 33–4.]

Any support by my Department for the new motor cycle company will be subject to our being satisfied about the arrangements for the acquisition and about the proposed management and operation of the new company. Negotiations between the two companies have not yet be concluded. I will in due course inform the House of the outcome.

Mr. Lamont

Will my right hon. Friend say what confidence he has that the £4.8 million worth of aid already announced will be sufficient to make the new company into a viable entity? Does he intend subsequently to make extra sums available, which may be less than the £5 million for which the approval of the House is required but would nevertheless bring the total amount of aid to a sum above that figure? In such an event, will that action be subject to the approval of the House?

Mr. Chataway

We have no proposals for giving any aid above the sum I have already mentioned. If, however, sums were to be made available which brought the total above £5 million, an affirmative order would be required. I believe that there is a good chance of the emergence of a company which will be of considerable benefit to Britain's balance of payments.

Mr. Huckfield

It the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is now nearly a month since, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman), I brought two deputations of shop stewards from the Triumph works at Meriden to see him? Is he aware that those workers are still being told nothing about the future of their industry or their factory? Will he arrange for Mr. Dennis Poore or someone to tell us something as soon as possible?

Mr. Chataway

I am grateful to the hon. Member for bringing the deputations to see me, and I hope that some information was able to be exchanged on that occasion. I am sure that the hon. Member will appreciate that a takeover of this kind, involving such financial arrangements, inevitably takes time. I naturally accept the force of the general point he is making.