HC Deb 15 December 1980 vol 996 cc10-1W
Mr. Gregor MacKenzie

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he has received the proposals of the British Steel Corporation on the future of the steel industry; and, if so, what is his response to them.

Mr. Michael Marshall

My right hon. Friend received the BSC corporate plan on 12 December. As he made clear in his reply to the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes) on 11 December—[Vol. 996 c.763]—the Government do not expect to announce their response to the corporate plan until about the end of January.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make an estimate of the present cost to public funds of subsidising overmanning and low labour productivity in the British Steel Corporation.

Mr. Michael Marshall

I am not in a position to make estimates of this kind. Since the beginning of 1980, the BSC has reduced its manpower by over 40,000—rising to over 50,000 by the end of March 1981—and in announcing the proposals in the BSC corporate plan on 12 December Mr MacGregor said that the BSC would need a further reduction in personnel of at least 20,000, partly through further closures, but mainly to improve labour productivity.

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