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Steel Dispute (Supplementary Benefit)

Volume 978: debated on Wednesday 13 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the saving in public funds if the level of supplementary benefit paid to steel strikers had been calculated on the

be available to Wiggins Teape and Consolidated Bathurst in respect of their new newsprint mill at Fort William; what is the estimate of job loss resulting from this investment; and what is the cost to public funds per job to be lost.

As indicated in their public announcement on 4 February, the two companies have not yet reached a final decision on whether to proceed with a joint investment at Fort William. There are several important issues still to be resolved, including the amount of Government financial assistance available. Officials of my Department and the Department of Industry are in discussion with the companies about their proposals. Until these discussions have been concluded and decisions taken I regret it is not possible to give my hon. Friend the information requested.