§ 36. Mr. Cronin
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is now the policy of Her Majesty's Government that Richard Thomas and Baldwins should remain in public ownership.
§ The Paymaster-General (Mr. Reginald Maudling)
The policy of Her Majesty's Government remains in accord with the decisions of Parliament embodied in the Iron and Steel Act, 1953. That Act set up the Iron and Steel Holding and Realisation Agency with the duty:to secure, by the exercise of their powers under this Act, the return to private ownership of the undertakings which, on the appointed day, are owned by subsidiaries of the Agency.
§ Mr. Cronin
Having regard to the circumstance that the demise of the Government is imminent and, after that event, that the rest of the steel industry is to be renationalised, would it not be desirable for the right hon. Gentleman to give this steel-producing organisation a reassurance that it will not be subject to unnecessary and destructive disturbance in the meantime?
§ Mr. Maudling
I think that the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is based on a false hypothesis. The duties of the Agency remain as determined by Act of Parliament.