HC Deb 18 October 1982 vol 29 cc6-7
8. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has had discussions with the British Steel Corporation on the future of the Whiteheads steelworks, Newport, Gwent; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Wales visited the plant in September to meet the management and work force and to hear their views. I keep in continual touch with the British Steel Corporation and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry about the corporation's affairs.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Secretary of State appreciate that this excellent and efficient works is and has been for a long time an integral part of the economy of Gwent? Does he further appreciate that it is closely linked to the Llanwern works, which itself is under threat despite all the splendid efforts that have been made there? As the representative for Wales in the Cabinet, will he ensure that the voice of Wales is heard there and that those works are not allowed to close?

Mr. Edwards

I appreciate all those points, and I assure the hon. Gentleman that the voice of Wales will be heard on those issues in the Cabinet.

Mr. Coleman

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that already a great sacrifice of steel workers' jobs in Wales has taken place as a means of securing the manning levels and efficiency that now obtain in the British steel industry? Has not the time now come when his job, and the jobs of his ministerial colleagues with responsibilities for Wales, should be put on the line to stop further closures in the Welsh steel industry? Will he show us his intention to fight this matter in the Cabinet or to resign?

Mr. Edwards

I assure the hon. Gentleman that, whatever else I do, I should not discuss any plans for my resignation with him before taking a decision on that matter.