HC Deb 14 March 1956 vol 550 cc52-4W
Lord Balniel

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the United Kingdom Government's participation in the building of a steel plant in India.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Yes. I am glad to be able to inform the House that broad agreement has been reached between the Government of India and a consortium of leading British manufacturers—the Indian Steel Construction Company Ltd.—for the erection of a million ton steel plant at Durgapur in India. Final specifications and tenders are to be submitted by May and it is hoped that the contract will be signed by July, 1956.

It is estimated that the external cost of the project will be about £50 million. Her Majesty's Government have agreed to make a loan of £15 million to the Government of India under the Export Guarantees Act. A group of United Kingdom banks have also agreed to give credits totalling £11½million. The loan by Her Majesty's Government will be at the interest rate at which Her Majesty's Government can at the time of drawing borrow for comparable periods in the market, plus a small element to cover administrative charges. Details have still to be discussed with the Government of India.

It is a source of satisfaction to Her Majesty's Government that the United Kingdom should have a prominent part in what will clearly be a major element in India's industrial development over the next five years.