HC Deb 02 August 1976 vol 916 cc1197-8
14. Mr. Peter Morrison

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will pay an official visit to the Shotton steelworks.

Mr. Varley

I have no plans to do so.

Mr. Morrison

Will the Secretary of State visit Shotton, on the future of which he has yet to make a final decision? When will that be?

Mr. Varley

I want a thorough investigation made of the prospects not only for Port Talbot but for Shotton. I shall not make a decision on Shotton on information which at this time is probably inadequate.

Mr. Brittan

Whatever the Secretary of State may be doing in Wales, will he ensure that he does not allow himself to be deflected from his proclaimed industrial strategy on Teesside? Will he accept promptly BSC's proposals for a plate mill at Redcar, where it will form part of a fully-integrated steel complex, able to face world-wide competition?

Mr. Varley

I am currently considering the British Steel Corporation's proposals for Redcar. In due course we shall make our views known.

Mr. Heffer

Will my right hon. Friend reconsider the question of going to Shotton? It would be important if he did so. On the way, will he also go through Merseyside, which is near Shotton, and study the very serious industrial problems that exist on Merseyside—the lack of industry, the high level of unemployment, and the fact that, in relation to the point raised by other hon. Members, a development area like Merseyside requires all the assistance it can get, because of the seriously high level of unemployment and the lack of the industry that the area needs?

Mr. Varley

What I said was that I had no plans to go to Shotton. I do not rule it out in future, and if I do go to that part of the country I shall certainly consider going to Merseyside. My hon. Friend is right; the prospects and problems of Merseyside are formidable. We took them into account in considering our original policies. Later today, as my hon. Friend is aware, I am to meet the Merseyside group of Labour Members to go into the position in more detail.

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