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British Steel Corporation

Volume 893: debated on Monday 16 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what is the likely amount of financial levy contributed by the British Steel Corporation to the EEC in 1975;(2) what total amount of financial return the British Steel Corporation is expected to receive from the EEC in 1975; and if he will give specific figures for social grants and research grants, respectively;(3) what is the amount to be borrowed by the British Steel Corporation from the European Investment Bank in 1975.

I have been asked to reply.The amount of levy paid by BSC to the European Commission depends upon the actual steel production. It is likely to be about £4·75 million in 1975.The corporation is also likely in 1975 to benefit to the extent of about £0·5 million from interest savings on subsidised Community loans, and to receive research grants which may total about £200,000 as instalments on projects in an approved programme of over £2 million.In addition to some Community assistance to BSC retraining schemes, BSC employees displaced by closures will receive resettlement benefits of about £3 million in 1975, of which about half will be contributed by the Commission.

I cannot forecast the total figure for Community loans which may be granted during 1975, although there are several BSC applications now being considered by the European Investment Bank and the Commission. So far this year there have been no further loans by the EIB but new ECSC loans to BSC totalling nearly £27 million have been agreed.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what effect United Kingdom membership of the EEC has had in enabling the British Steel Corporation to share fully in the joint activities of the Community steelmakers;(2) to what extent the British Steel Corporation, in consultation with the European Commission, will be able to exercise influence on decisions made by the Coal and Steel Community.

I have been asked to reply.The BSC has taken and will continue to take a full part in all the consultative organisations of the European steel industry associated with the Community. It will thus exercise a considerable influence not only on the mutual decisions of European steelmakers but on the European Commission, which gives due weight to the views of the industry, as expressed by formal consultation with representative bodies.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) to what extent the British Steel Corporation will benefit from planned large growth of steel sales into the EEC;(2) to what extent British manufacturers will gain by taking a larger proportion of their steel requirements from the EEC;(3) whether he estimates that the United Kingdom's membership of the EEC will lead to greater market stability for the British Steel Corporation; and if he will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.United Kingdom membership of the ECSC gives the BSC access to the whole Community steel market on equal terms with other European steelmakers, which will assist the corporation to achieve the planned increases in exports and total sales on which its development strategy is based. British steelmaking industries will also have the benefits of better access to all sources of steel supply in the Community.The ECSC pricing rules play an important part in helping to stabilise the market during periods of low demand as at present, by seeking to prevent imports at unrealistically low prices and maintaining fair competition throughout the Community.