Skip to main content

Investment Location

Volume 201: debated on Wednesday 15 January 1992

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from business men concerning the impact of the regulatory environment on decisions about location of investment.

Overseas undertakings investing in the United Kingdom often comment favourably on our regulatory regime. It is one of the reasons why the United Kingdom is the preferred location for United States and Japanese undertakings investing in the European Community.

As my hon. Friend has said, our regulatory climate has encouraged a lot of inward investment. How distressed and worried is industry in those regions that we might mistakenly have a Labour Government, which would do so much damage to inward investment?

Many people are asking worried questions about just that point. They do not like the prospect of higher taxation, the minimum wage, the social charter or the Maastricht social clauses. These would put a massive burden on business. It is very important, therefore, that the Conservative Government continue in power to ensure that the climate remains favourable for the attraction of the lion's share of foreign investment into the European Community.

The Minister will not be surprised to learn that my question concerns the regulatory environment of British Steel, in which the Government hold the golden share. Are the Government prepared to exercise their right, as the holders of that share, to ensure that British Steel agrees to implement its promise that it would either stay at Ravenscraig or sell the plant to somebody else?

That question has been answered very fully by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and by other Ministers, and there is nothing that I want to add. These are commercial decisions and British Steel's actions are within the terms of the guarantees that it has given.