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Special Steels Industry

Volume 958: debated on Monday 20 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the current involvement of the National Enterprise Board in the special steels industry.

None, but the board is of course always ready to consider proposals for worthwhile investment.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish the report of the Iron and Steel Industry Sector Working Party on the special steels industry.

After consideration last summer, the working party decided not to publish this report as it contained commercial information supplied in confidence by United Kingdom producers and consumers.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if he will hold discussions with the principal trade unions concerned about possible re-organisation of the special steels industry;(2) if he will initiate discussions with the British Independent Steel Producers Association with a view to producing a planning agreement for the special steels industry.

The problems of the special steel industry including the need for possible reorganisation are one of the main issues already being considered by the NEDO iron and steel sector working party. Both the employers and the trade unions are represented as well as the Government. My right hon. Friend asked the sector working party to give further thought to ways in which the industry can best be helped to improve its efficiency and competitiveness, but my right hon. Friend is always willing to consider any practical ideas and proposals to help the industry that are put to him. Planning agreements are negotiated with individual companies rather than with sectors of industry but the British Independent Steel Producers Association is represented on the sector working party and participates actively in its discussions. My right hon. Friend would, however, welcome, at the same time, the conclusion of planning agreements with companies in this sector.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what discussions have taken place between his Department and Commissioner Davignon on the problem of special steels and the need for orderly marketing of these steels within the Community;(2) if he will seek to place on the agenda of the next meeting of EEC Industry Ministers the problem of special steels with a view to eliminating dumping and discriminating pricing by producers in EEC countries.

My right hon. Friend wrote to Commissioner Davignon about this serious problem on 15th September and my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Industry discussed it with him on 16th October. A reply from the Commissioner has now been received and is being considered by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State who will be pursuing this problem further at the Council of Ministers meeting tomorrow.