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Steel Industry

Volume 975: debated on Monday 3 December 1979

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15.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many steel jobs will have been lost in the public and private sectors in West Glamorgan between November 1978 and March 1980 on the basis of current plans.

About 2,000. Approximately 900 have already taken effect and the remainder would take place before March 1980 on the basis of firm current plans.

Since there have been previous failures of communication between the Secretary of State and the British Steel Corporation—I accept through no fault of his own—may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that there is a BSC document in existence, a copy of which I have seen, which envisages a further reduction in capacity at Port Talbot which will have the consequential effect of 3,000 further redundancies in West Glamorgan, on top of those that the right hon. Gentleman has already announced? Do not the redundancies that he has announced and those in prospect together make the West Glamorgan problem one on the scale of Shotton and Corby? How does he reconcile that with the downgrading of West Glamorgan for RDG purposes?

I am aware that the British Steel Corporation is considering possible substantial additional redundancies in the area. I agree that that would have a serious effect on the area. However, the BSC board has taken no final decision on the matter. I have already indicated to the House in an earlier answer our flexible approach to regional development and special development areas, and we shall always examine new circumstances when they develop.