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Lord Evans of Parkside: My Lords, in thanking my noble friend for his very helpful reply, I ask him whether he accepts that it is absolutely essential that the British Government continue to assist the aerospace industry if this country and its European partners are to produce aircraft in future which can compete with the Americans and maintain or produce further skilled jobs in this high technology industry. Will my noble friend take this opportunity to point out that previous government launch aid has not only been highly successful for the industry but profitable to the Treasury?
Lord Haskel: My Lords, certainly. Of the two Airbus programmes aided by the United Kingdom, one has repaid its capital and is now paying interest to the Government and the other is comfortably expected to pay for itself and provide a good rate of return to the Government. The Government have received over £50 million in each of the past two years.
Lord McNally: My Lords, does the Minister agree that, given the undoubted success of Airbus, it is on European co-operation that the future of aerospace in Europe depends? What encouragement for European co-operation projects do the Government intend to provide, especially as the Minister of Defence recently indicated that there is a need for greater rationalisation and co-operation if that industry is to prosper?
Lord Haskel: My Lords, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister together with his counterparts in France and Germany announced on 9th December that they looked to industry for a plan to restructure the
Lord Burnham: My Lords, does the appointment of Mr. Kevin Smith of British Aerospace as the sole industry representative on the acquisition organisation review imply that the Government are trying to reduce or eliminate GEC's involvement in the service aerospace industry?
Lord Ironside: My Lords, I welcome what the noble Lord said about investment in Rolls-Royce. What investment are the Government making in upgrading some of the major national test facilities, such as flight chambers and engine test beds, which are located at present at Farnborough? I believe that a major upgrading will be necessary to support the British aerospace industry when dealing with advanced programmes.
Lord Haskel: My Lords, the Government recognise the concern of the Defence and Aerospace Foresight Panel that aerospace R&D expenditure has been reducing. The President of the Board of Trade has indicated that she will consider the case put forward for public funding of some of those actions under the foresight programme for an increase in the CARAD funding as part of the comprehensive spending review. When that review has been completed a decision will be made.
Lord Janner of Braunstone: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that reply, and especially his undertaking to publish the list of names of all accounts which were frozen under the trading with the enemy legislation--an action I have sought for some time. I hope that he will also undertake to publish any further information so that people who have suffered will have some chance of restitution. Does my noble friend accept that when the Custodian of Enemy Property confiscated property belonging to the enemy he also confiscated property belonging to victims of the enemy, mainly Jewish people, many of whom were afterwards murdered in concentration camps? Does he accept that that action was unworthy, unconscionable and insupportable? In the circumstances, will he undertake three things: first, when he says that he will publish the report as soon as possible, will he ensure that that will be soon? The Secretary of State was good enough to let me see the draft some two months ago. There must be time for the job to be done. We must be quick, because the survivors will not survive for much longer, and many are in need. Secondly--
Lord Haskel: My Lords, work has started on the list of names. It will be published soon. There are 25,000 entries, all of which are manual. It is quite a job. With regard to the seizure of property, the trading with the enemy legislation provided for property to be seized from companies that were registered in enemy countries, and individuals who were residents of enemy countries. No distinction was drawn. The custodian was unable to make any distinction. The Government have to rely on information gathered at the time. Unfortunately, there are no means of identifying those who were victims of Nazi persecution and those who were not. The Government feel that by publishing the names of those whose property was seized some light can be thrown on the matter, and that in that way the situation can be clarified.
Lord Haskel: My Lords, it is difficult to judge by today's standards actions that were taken many years ago at a time of war. I cannot comment on the legal points. Values have changed. In those days, power was paramount. Today it may be valued less, and we seek to earn people's respect. I am sure that the right thing will be done in the end.
Lord Haskel: My Lords, there is a long history of what happened, which I have written down here. In 1948 the government instituted a scheme whereby victims of Nazi persecution could make a claim for property which had been seized in the UK. The original assets were not returned. Instead, ex gratia payments were made which were equivalent to the amount of money which had been seized by the custodian less a 2 per cent. administration charge. Records show that by 1958, 84 per cent. of all applications for compensation had been successful, resulting in total payments of some £2 million, with claimants receiving on average 84 per cent. of the amounts claimed. The scheme continued in operation throughout the 1960s. In 1957, the government also donated £250,000 from liquidated assets to the Nazi Victims' Relief Trust.
Lord Monkswell: My Lords, in his supplementary question my noble friend Lord Janner referred to Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. Are the Government aware that the Nazi regime also persecuted communists, trade unionists, disabled people and homosexuals? Can we be assured that those categories of victims will be included in the report to which my noble friend referred?
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