asked the Minister of Power (1) whether he has yet approved the plan to build a private sector steelworks on the Thames Estuary;(2) what is his estimate of the effect of the proposed new steelworks on the Thames Estuary on investment and employment in existing British Steel Corporation plants;(3) what consultations he has had with the British Steel Corporation about the proposed new steelworks in the Thames Estuary.
My predecessor gave his consent on 24th April 1968, under Section 15 of the Iron and Steel Act 1967, to the construction of a new scrap-based steelworks at Sheerness with an annual steel-making capacity of 188,000 tons. The plant would be relatively small, and its effect on employment and investment at existing British Steel Corporation plants is not likely to be significant. There is no statutory requirement on me to consult with the B.S.C. about Section 15 applications, though I have knowledge of the corporation's own proposals through its capital development programme, whose general lines require my approval.