HC Deb 22 October 1969 vol 788 cc260-1W
Sir G. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Power when he expects to announce his decision on the site of the administrative headquarters of the Tube Division of the British Steel Corporation.

Mr. Benn

In their Second Report on Organisation (House of Commons Paper, No. 163, 11th March, 1969), the British Steel Corporation announced their conclusion that the multi-product Group organisation set up on vesting date should cease to exist and that they had put in hand a detailed examination of the feasibility of replacing it by a system of Product Divisions which would be better adapted to promote rationalisation and the optimum use of production facilities.

The Corporation have since, in the light of their detailed studies, concluded that this new system would be practicable, and ought to be introduced, and have consulted me on the broad lines of such a re-organisation. The intention will be to set up four main Product Divisions as follows:—

  1. (1) A General Steels Division, covering mainly the heavy end of the industry including plates and heavy sections, but also non-alloy light rolled products.
  2. (2) A Special Steels Division, including alloy and stainless products, forgings and steel castings.
  3. (3) A Strip Mills Division, covering sheet steel, tin-plate, and narrow strip.
  4. (4) A Tubes Division, covering pipes and tubes.

The Corporation have also reached conclusions on the location of the Divisional headquarters, which I am discussing with them.

I am satisfied that reorganisation on these lines is desirable, and I have asked the Corporation to continue detailed planning and to consult the trade unions and other bodies concerned, with a view to putting formal proposals to me for statutory approval towards the end of the year. A statutory Third Report on Organisation will then be laid before Parliament which will give full details of the proposed reorganisation, including respective responsibilities of the Corporation's Head Office and the Divisions and the arrangements for dealing with regional aspects, to which my right hon. Friend the then Minister of Power referred earlier in the year. The new organisation would be put into effect at the end of March, 1970.