asked the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has had with the European Economic Community Commissioner, Mr. Henk Vredeling, regarding the 52,000 job losses by the British Steel Corporation and consequential job losses in the British coal industry; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend met Mr. Vredeling on 7 March. Among the subjects discussed were the proposed redundancies at the British Steel Corporation. The possibility of Community assistance through the social fund to alleviate the consequences of these redundancies is the responsibility of my Department, and was mentioned in my right hon. Friend's talk with Mr. Vredeling. But general questions relating to the BSC redundancy programme, and the main measures to alleviate the impact on those concerned, are a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Industry. My right hon. Friend did not discuss with Mr. Vredeling the question of whatever job losses might arise in the coal industry.