§ Mr. Hal Miller
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will take steps to ensure that the nationalised industries for which he is responsible do not use public funds to subsidise prices of products competing directly with those manufactured by private industry.
§ Sir Keith Joseph
The Government's policy is to create an economic climate in which all industry can succeed without assistance from the taxpayer. Public finance to the nationalised industries is not intended to subsidise competition with the private sector.
The chairmen of the nationalised industries for which I am responsible are aware of these views, and that we expect their corporations to compete fairly with private firms. In the case of the British Steel Corporation, as I announced on 24 February 1981, Mr. MacGregor has undertaken personally to investigate any specific allegations of unfair pricing that are put to him by companies or by hon. Members. I have also asked my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State to monitor these complaints as a conciliator and to report to me.