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Sawmilling Industry

Volume 165: debated on Wednesday 17 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Industry what representation he has received about overcapacity in the sawmilling industry.

Apart from the points that my hon. Friend raised in his recent correspondence with my Department, I am not aware of having received any other representations about overcapacity in sawmilling.

In view of my hon. Friend's answers to my question and to the preceding one, what assurance can he give the House that regional selective assistance will not lead to displacement and overcapacity? Does he agree that such commercial decisions are best left to the market?

My hon. Friend illustrates the value of having moved away from regional development grants to regional selective assistance. When considering applications for regional selective assistance, one can take into account displacement in employment opportunities and overcapacity in existing plants. That was not the case with regional development grants.