HC Deb 24 June 1974 vol 875 cc966-7
5. Sir A. Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from employees of the British Steel Corporation at Shotton regarding compensation for redundancy.

Mr. John Morris


Sir A. Meyer

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirm the reports which appeared in the Press that the compensation which would be payable to workers made redundant by the British Steel Corporation was largely based on agreements with the European Coal and Steel Community and that that basis of compensation would vanish if the Labour Government carried out their proposal to take Britain out of the ECSC? Will he also note that these seemingly generous provisions apparently make no provision for steel workers who might be forced to move to other steel-making areas, who might lose a great deal of money in the process and who might have no guarantee that they would be able to rehouse themselves near other jobs?

Mr. Morris

The compensation arises only if redundancy takes place. I am not sure which horse the hon. Gentleman is now backing. I seem to recall, as I told him last time, that he supported the previous Government's proposals which included the closing of Shotton. The hon. Gentleman has a Question down asking for details of the scheme, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry will deal with it in due course.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the benefits to British working people from the so-called regional fund of the Common Market have been a fleabite to date, despite the promises originally made by the hon. Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer) and his friends? Does my right hon. and learned Friend further agree that we are nevertheless making a substantial contribution towards the upkeep of the common agricultural policy which is a means of subsidising inefficient French farmers and of keeping prices high for the British housewife?

Mr. Morris

I think that the whole House is aware of the substantial contribution being made by this country to the common agricultural policy. The readaption scheme, to which reference was made, comes into effect on 1st July. It provides for the payment of benefits to certain steel workers who are made redundant, and it could be of importance if redundancy arose.