HC Deb 01 March 2001 vol 363 cc731-2W
Mr. Beggs

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he(a) has taken and (b) plans to take to determine the accuracy of the annual returns made in

Mr. Alan Johnson

I have received representations from a variety of sources, including from many Members of Parliament, trade unions and members of the public about the implications of Corus's announcement on 1 February.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has urged Corus to reconsider its decision and pressed the company to engage in a constructive dialogue to identify a better way forward. I am pleased to say that Corus is now talking to the trade unions about their plans.

If Corus proceed with the job cuts announced on 1 February then the Government and the National Assembly for Wales will not walk away from the innocent victims. We are assessing the possible consequences on a contingency basis and will provide help to any individual affected and to the communities in which they live. This will include new job opportunities, retraining and economic regeneration.

The steel industry is a vital part of UK manufacturing and the Government will continue to work closely with all parts of the industry to help ensure its future competitiveness. We and the National Assembly for Wales stand ready to work alongside Corus, other steel companies and the trade unions to identify a way forward that builds on the strengths of the industry and secures its long-term future in the UK.