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Steel Industry

Volume 78: debated on Wednesday 1 May 1985

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15.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will be meeting the chairman of the British Steel Corporation to discuss the corporate plan for the steel industry.

BSC has only recently been in a position to resume its normal corporate planning process, and at present my right hon. Friend has no specific plans for an early meeting with the chairman to discuss the corporate plan.

Does the Minister appreciate that there is concern at the Llanwern steelworks about the failure to give the go-ahead for the concast project? Therefore, will he press the chairman over this issue, bearing in mind that the works has beaten all efficiency and production records in recent years—a trend, presumably, which the Government are trying to encourage?

The hon. Gentleman has raised this matter several times at Question Time and at Welsh Questions. As he knows, it is a matter for the corporation to put to the Government, and the corporation has not done that as yet.

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Government's policies in relation to the BSC have been highly successful and have led to increased profitability, increased productivity, and a position in Europe which enables it to compete effectively with almost every other European steel producer?

I hope that the Government's policies have contributed to the success of the BSC. The progress on productivity has been dramatic. We have equalled and surpassed the levels in France and Germany and done our restructuring. The BSC project is now poised to reach viability. It is a tribute not only to the Government but to the management and all those who work in the corporation.

Order. I said that I would take the hon. Gentleman's point of order after Question Time.

The hon. Gentleman is entitled to raise it, but I am entitled to say when I will take it, which is after Question Time.

Order. I ask the hon. Gentleman to bear with me. I have said that I will take his point of order after Question Time, and I certainly will. We have one more question in Question Time to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and that is No. 46.