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Volume 891: debated on Monday 28 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list those companies taken out of public ownership under the previous Government; which of them have been taken back into public ownership; which he intends should be taken back into public ownership; and why he does not intend to seek to take back into public ownership the remaining companies.

I am replying in respect of companies in those industries for which this Department is responsible. The British Steel Corporation transferred the following assets to the private sector during the period of office of the last Conservative administration:

Transport Development Group Ltd. (a).
Steetly Company Ltd. (a).
Tube Investments Ltd. (a).
Rylands Whitecross and Dorman Long Wiremaking Works (b).
Openshaw and Holme Lane Works
Thurcroft Brickworks.
Belton, Crowle, Bilsthorpe and Campbell Brickworks.
Brymbo Steelworks (c).
Firth Vickers Stainless Steel Ltd. (d).
River Don drop forge plant (d).
  • (a) BSC sold only part of its shareholding in these companies.
  • (b) BSC maintains an interest in these concerns.
  • (c) As part of this deal BSC acquired GKN Dowlais Ltd.
  • (d) As part of this deal BSC acquired certain plant and facilities for stainless steel flat products.
  • None of these has been taken back into public ownership. It has been made clear to the nationalised industries for which the Secretary of State for Industry has responsibility that we shall consider sympathetically proposals for their expansion and diversification, and this could of course include repurchase of assets previously hived off where this would most appropriately advance the general strategy of those industries.