§ 50. Mr. Biffen
asked the Minister of Technology if he will make a statement on the development costs of the Concorde and the latest assessment of its ability to compete for air passenger traffic without public subsidy.
§ Mr. Benn
As I told the House on 20th November, the estimate of £500 million announced in 1966 at price levels then prevailing had been affected by various factors.
The latest reports indicate that the estimate of development costs has risen substantially and, depending upon the experience with the flight trials, could rise further.
We are, of course, in close touch with the French Government on the cost estimates and their implications. It is not possible to give a firm assessment of Concorde's prospects but if it can be produced at the right price, and retain its lead over the Boeing SST, it should be commercially successful for airlines and bring in valuable foreign exchange.—[Vol. 773, c. 278.]
§ Mr. Benn
The Concorde project stems from an agreement concluded between Her Majesty's Government and the French Government on 29th November, 1962. At that date it was estimated that the share of the development work to be carried out by the British contractors would cost Her Majesty's Government between £75 million and £85 million, at the price levels then prevailing. Since that date about £155 million has been expended by Her Majesty's Government, at the prices prevailing at the time the expenditure was incurred.