§ Mr. Hickmet
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he intends to appoint external advisers in connection with the privatisation of the British Steel Corporation.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
The Government wish to transfer BSC's assets and activities to the private sector as quickly as is practicable. Subject to market conditions, the Government intend privatisation to take place during the course of the next Parliament. I welcome the corporation's results for the first half of the current year, which show a continuing improvement in performance and, although a 441W longer period of profitability will be required before BSC can be returned to the private sector, I intend to appoint a merchant bank shortly to give preliminary advice to the Department in connection with the corporation's privatisation.