HC Deb 14 July 1975 vol 895 cc1038-9
7. Mr. Trotter

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what representations he has recently received in respect of the Government's policy for the nationalisation of industry.

Mr. Varley

I have received a number of such representations representing a variety of viewpoints.

Mr. Trotter

Will the Secretary of State tell us whether the Treasury has done its duty and conveyed to his Department its concern at the Government's determination to continue at this time with their misguided nationalisation schemes? In particular, has the Treasury expressed concern at the effect on the confidence of our creditors of this misguided spending of public money at a time of economic crisis?

Mr. Varley

I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman. The Government are committed to a vigorous and healthy private sector and to a vigorous, healthy, efficient and expanding public sector. These can run side by side.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is my right non. Friend aware that those of us who represent shipbuilding and ship repairing interests on Tyneside have received many urgent representations from the workers in those industries calling for the rapid implementation and carrying through of the Bill for the nationalisation of shipbuilding and ship repairing in particular?

Mr. Varley

I know of those representations and I very much regret that, because of the pressure of the legislative time table this Session, it has not been possible to go ahead this Session with the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill. However, I assure my hon. Friend that it has a high priority, and I am very hopeful that it will have a Second Reading before the end of the year.

Mr. Peter Walker

Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that, whatever the extension or reduction of the nationalised industries, if any nationalised industry decided to pay more than the £6 a week laid down by the Government in the coming 12 months at the expense of its investment programme the Government would dismiss the board of any such nationalised industry?

Mr. Varley

Not necessarily the board, but certainly the chairman, who would take responsibility. There is no doubt in my mind that if the Government's counter-inflation policies were not observed by nationalised industries there would be consequences perhaps along the lines suggested by the right hon. Gentleman.