§ 28. Mr. MacShane
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on recent developments in the British steel industry. 
§ Mr. Battle
The UK steel industry remains one the most productive and competitive in the world.
If my hon. Friend's question refers to the recent announcement by British Steel that it intends to merge with the Dutch steel producer, Koninklijke Hoogovens, I should advise him that the proposed merger is likely to be subject to European competition rules. Given the UK's part in any competition investigation, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.