By James Beecroft
One of Britain’s champion export firms yesterday announced a gigantic programme of investment. Sir Donald Stokes, boss of British Leyland Motor Corporation, said his group will ” Back Britain” to the tune of £50,000,000 a year — to be spent on “new plant, new tools and new technology.”
Sir Donald, the one-time engineering apprentice who has risen to be head of Britain’s biggest manufacturers of cars, trucks, vans and buses, told a Press conference at Leyland, Lancs, that the expansion programme would amount to £200,000,000 over four years. It would be spent on investment in the firm’s car and commercial vehicle fields.
He said: “Some people are wondering if we are at the beginning of an economic miracle, or if the country is going bust.”
“But we believe this country is going from strength to strength as an industrial nation.”
Sir Donald added: “We are prepared to put £200,000,000 of shareholders’ money into really backing Britain.” He warned, however, that to carry out the vast scheme successfully by 1972 the company would need ” a fair run, free from disputes and other labour troubles.”
Sir Donald said: “We can only pay ourselves more money — I am all in favour of this—if we first pay for our seed corn, and in our case this is new plant, new tools, and new technology.”
He promised that once this had been achieved, the giant firm—an amalgam of Leyland Motor Corporation and British Motor Holdings would be able to afford ” to share some of the spoils.”