HC Deb 05 March 1990 vol 168 cc416-7W
Mr. Clay

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if, pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Gateshead, East (Ms. Quin) of 20 February,Official Report, column 780, he will list any changes in the proposals for the acquisition of NESL facilities by the Anglo-Greek consortium which were not made as a result of guidance from either his Department or the Tyne and Wear development corporation.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

[holding answer 27 February 1990]: Following the rejection of the shipbuilding bids for the NESL yards in July 1989 for reasons explained by my right hon. Friend the Member for Braintree (Mr. Newton), the Anglo-Greek consortium made an informal proposal which simply foresaw a return to new shipbuilding at North Sands in the longer term, depending on market conditions. A formal proposal on 30 October 1989 was more specific, and explicitly made reference to the development of a modern shipbuilding facility.

The business plan dated 21 December 1989 made it apparent that the scale of investment was based on future shipbuilding requirements. An additional, parallel idea to use the Southwick site for steel work was raised in January 1990. None of these changes was made at the suggestion of my Department, which has always made it clear that any proposals would need to be assessed against any alternative plans for the sites in question, and would need formal clearance by the Commission of the European Communities.

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