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British Steel Corporation

Volume 886: debated on Wednesday 19 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the cost to the British Steel Corporation of the Beswick proposals; and whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to fund the corporation the total cost of the social obligations imposed on the board.

There should be no cost penalty to the BSC in carrying out the recommendations as regards steelmaking of my right hon. and noble Friend, with which the BSC was in agreement. Most of the plants involved were profitable last year, and leaving aside short-term cyclical changes in demand we shall need the steel these plants can make until new developments become fully effective. On the provision of alternative employment, this concept has, as I said in my statement on 4th February, still to be examined and discussed more fully.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how far the acceptance by Her Majesty's Government of the Beswick proposals was consistent with the articles of the ECSC Treaty.

I have no reason to believe that anything in my right hon. and noble Friend's interim report on the steel closure review is inconsistent with the provisions of the Treaty of Paris.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will set out in the Official Report a comparative table showing the original proposals for the reorganisation of the public sector of the steel industry in the United Kingdom and the changes and revisions accepted by Her Majesty's Government.

I assume the hon. Member has in mind the Government's review of the steel plant closures proposed by the British Steel Corporation. I would refer him to the table at the end of the interim report of my right hon. and noble Friend

By all companiesFor United Kingdom registration
From English yards (Completed)From Scottish yards (Completed)From all yardsFrom United Kingdom yards
Still on order144
No supply ships were ordered from yards in Wales or Northern Ireland.

the Minister of State, Lord Beswick, which was circulated in the Official Report for 4th February.—[Vol. 356, c. 773–4.]

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what will be the cost of additional subsidies necessary to offset losses in revenue to the British Steel Corporation resulting from his recently-announced decision to delay the corporation's investment plans.

I have not delayed the corporation's investment plans; I have agreed with the corporation the deferment of certain steel plant closures, but there is no intention that this should prevent the corporation from pushing on with its investment programme as quickly as practical.