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Steel Industry

Volume 981: debated on Monday 24 March 1980

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5.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his current assessment of the effects of the steel strike.

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his estimate of the effects to date of the strike in British Steel upon the British economy with special reference to the customers of British Steel's products.

Industrial production is being maintained at about 95 per cent. of what it would have been in the absence of a dispute. This includes production lost at BSC itself. All the indications are that steel users continue to show great resourcefulness and are minimising the disruption to their business.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what discussions he has had with the Commission of the EEC about the size of the British steel industry compared with that of other EEC countries, and about the level of EEC funds available to assist in nationalisation.

asked Following earlier contacts with the Commission, I met Commissioners Davignon, Vredeling and Giolitti on 4 March to discuss the steel industry. These talks were mainly concerned with the ways in which Community funds could be used to ease the problems which accompany closures and large scale redundancies at major steelworks.

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his latest estimate of the effect of the steel strike on orders for the British Steel Corporation's products.

The level of orders for the British Steel Corporation's products is a matter for the Corporation. But, as it has said, the strike is likely to have a significantly adverse effect on its sales prospects after the strike.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will estimate the cost to public funds already attributable to the dispute in the steel industry.

BSC estimates that the dispute is costing it £10 million a week.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when next he proposes to visit a steelworks; and how many such visits he has made since 8 May 1979.

My right hon. Friend has made no visits to steelworks since the election, and has no present plans to do so. My hon. Friend the Minister of State and I have visited several steelworks since 8 May.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry on how many occasions during the last three months he has met Sir Charles Villiers and Mr. William Sirs; on what dates these meetings occurred; and what was the duration of each meeting.

My right hon. Friend had meetings with Sir Charles Villiers in the last three months, on 21 January, 5 February and 21 February. He has had two meetings with Mr. William Sirs, on 19 January and 21 January. Records are not kept of the durations of meetings.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he has reached any decisions upon the future of the British Steel Corporation.

My right hon. Friend sees to it that Parliament is informed of all decisions he takes which directly and significantly affect the future of the British Steel Corporation.