§ Mr. MacShane
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the value of the debts of the British Steel Corporation(a) assumed by central Government and (b) otherwise written off between 1979 and privatisation in 1988. 
§ Mr. Page
A two-stage reconstruction of British Steel Corporation's balance sheet involving the write-off of public dividend capital provided to the company was effected under the Iron and Steel Acts of 1981 and 1982 in recognition of the fact that trading losses could not be recovered out of existing assets. The 1981 Act reduced by £3 billion the sums invested in BSC by the Government under section 18(1) of the Iron and Steel Act 1975, with a further reduction of £1 billion effected in December 1982 by a statutory instrument made under the 1982 Act. In conjunction with this exercise, the Iron and Steel Act 1981 extinguished £509 million of national loans fund loans together with accrued interest thereon as at the end of the corporation's 1980–81 financial year, in respect of the long-term indebtness of the corporation.
In 1988, preparing British Steel plc for privatisation, Her Majesty's Government made a number of adjustments to the company's capital structure to bring it into a form that was appropriate for a public limited company. Full 71W details of these adjustments are given in the National Audit Office report "Department of Trade and Industry: Sale of Government Shareholding in British Steel plc", HC 210, 1989–90 Session, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
§ Mr. MacShane
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what estimate he has made of the implications of the incentives being offered by the state of Alabama, USA, to British Steel plc and its partners in the Trico steel mill venture for future investment in the British steel industry.