HC Deb 04 April 1967 vol 744 cc6-7
6. Mr. Ridley

asked the Minister of Power what he estimates will be the total value of compensation payable to the present owners of the steel industry to be nationalised.

Mr. Freeson

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) on 31st January.—[Vol. 740, c. 40.]

Mr. Ridley

On 15th March the hon. Gentleman's right hon. Friend said that the investment in the steel industry was worth £1,400 million. How can he justify offering £580-odd million in compensation?

Mr. Freeson

I should have thought that this matter had been very fully debated in this House over quite a long period of time now. I will repeat what has been said, that the Government consider that the compensation terms set out in the Act are on the generous side of fair and just.

Sir G. de Freitas

Could the Minister tell us what would be the effect of changing the Government's terms of compensation to reflect the true market value of these shares?

Mr. Freeson

I imagine that there would be weeping on the Stock Exchange tomorrow.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Have the Government yet worked out what addition they will have to make to the financial target which they will set the steel industry by reason of the fact that they are buying the assets considerably under value?

Mr. Freeson

As the hon. Member knows, this is a matter for detailed consideration by the Steel Corporation when it is set up.