HC Deb 25 July 1989 vol 157 c603W
Q209. Mr. Quentin Davies

To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on progress made in rationalising the steel industry since 1979.

The Prime Minister

During the period since 1979 the Government promoted the Phoenix joint ventures involving private sector steel companies and the (then nationalised) British Steel Corporation and also a private sector steel scheme. These initiatives have now ceased but they reduced product overlap between the private and public sectors and contributed towards rationalisation within the industry as a whole. British Steel itself was then returned to the private sector in December 1988 and recently announced record profits of £593 million compared with substantial losses while nationalised. Productivity in the United Kingdom steel industry rose by 151 per cent. between 1979 and 1988.