§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps through his Budget and other measures to ensure that public funds are not used to place nationalised industries in a preferential competitive position by comparison with private manufacturing industry; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Brittan
The financial framework within which nationalised industries are in general expected to operate8W is designed to ensure that nationalised industry prices are set at economic levels. When an industry's short-term difficulties are such that this framework needs to be temporarily modified the Government are concerned to ensure that any additional financial support does not permit an industry to compete unfairly with the private sector. In the case of the steel industry, for example, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry made clear in his statement to the house on 24 February—[Vol. 999, c. 745.]—that the British Steel Corporation had agreed not to engage in unfair pricing, and that any complaints on this matter would be monitored by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Industry.