HC Deb 01 November 1989 vol 159 c317
16. Mr. Gill

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received regarding alleged unfair competition in the timber industry as a result of subsidies to sawmills in Wales.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

Save for my hon. Friend's letter of 31 August, I am not aware of having received any other representations about unfair competition in the timber industry.

Mr. Gill

Does my hon. Friend accept that there is documented evidence that shows that elements of unfair competition have been introduced into industries, notably the timber industry in this case, as a result of decisions made under regional policies? Will he take this opportunity to deprecate those instances of interventionism?

Mr. Hogg

I cannot do that as I believe that there are powerful economic and social arguments in favour of our regional policy that I outlined in answer to an earlier question. I recognise that when deciding whether to grant aid in particular cases a number of criteria must be taken into account. One of them is, necessarily, the effect on indigenous industries.