HC Deb 15 June 1961 vol 642 cc629-30
30. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will state the aggregate current inventory value of Government investment in the steel industry; what inventory value is now represented by investment in the wholly nationalised Richard Thomas and Baldwins Limited; what progress has been made since February, 1961, towards denationalisation of Richard Thomas and Baldwins Limited; and whether he will now make a further statement concerning denationalisation of the State-owned residue of the steel industry, particularly Richard Thomas and Baldwins Limited.

Mr. Barber

The book value to the Iron and Steel Holding and Realisation Agency of its present holdings in the Steel industry amounts to £140.7 million, of which £67.1 million relates to securities in and loans to Richard Thomas and Baldwins. In addition my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power has lent £12.1 million to Richard Thomas and Baldwins and £15 million to Colvilles under his arrangements with these two companies. As for the last part of my hon. Friend's Question, it would be contrary to practice for me to enter into discussion about possible future sales by the Agency.

Mr. Nabarro

That is a very bad reply. Does my hon. Friend realise that his supporters on this side of the House have endured with considerable patience the long delay in denationalising Richard Thomas and Baldwins? Cannot this be carried through at an early date while stock market conditions are so favourable for the exercise?

Mr. Barber

My right hon. and learned Friend has on a number of occasions, and I have again this afternoon, referred to the intentions of the Government concerning denationalisation. We have made our position clear and I hope that in due course my hon. Friend will be satisfied.

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