Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Aluminium Smelter Works (Location)

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th March 1968.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North 12:00 am, 13th March 1968

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a further statement on the location of an aluminium smelter works in the Northern Region.

Photo of Mr John Osborn Mr John Osborn , Sheffield, Hallam

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is yet able to announce the results of the Government's consideration of proposals for aluminium smelters; and what representations he has received from Great Britain's European Free Trade Association partners on this question.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I am not yet in a position to make a statement on the various smelter proposals. As regards the E.F.T.A. aspects, I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State, to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) and my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) on 7th February.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

Meanwhile, can my right hon. Friend confirm that aluminium companies have shown an interest in the location of a smelter in the North-East, and will he assure the House that this interest will receive every encouragement from the Government?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I can certainly assure the House that the claims of the North-East, as, indeed, the claims of all other regions, have been strongly pressed upon the Government.

Photo of Mr John Osborn Mr John Osborn , Sheffield, Hallam

Whilst hoping that the right hon. Gentleman will go ahead, may I ask him what recent representations he has had from E.F.T.A., and particularly Norway, who are very concerned about the effect of investment grants?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

The position as to E.F.T.A. is that a special working party was set up to discuss the Norwegian complaint against us, and that working party has, I understand, nearly finished its deliberations now and will be reporting in the next few days.

Photo of Mr Edward Leadbitter Mr Edward Leadbitter , Hartlepools, The

Does my right hon. Friend understand that individual Members of Parliament from the Northern Region have made representations and application from an aluminium smelting company has been made for a particular site and that the northern group has been interested, and that we do not understand why the Press seems to have more information than we or this House?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I have a great deal of sympathy with the last part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question. The fact is that in a case like this where discussions have to go on with the companies concerned it is almost impossible, apparently, to avoid leaks of that character which I personally find extremely deplorable.

Photo of Mr Terence Higgins Mr Terence Higgins , Worthing

How long is it since the Government had the first approach on this matter, and can the right hon. Gentleman give some indication when a statement is likely to be made?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

It has been a long and inevitably complicated business involving major questions of the best use of our national resources, of import policy, of regional policy, E.F.T.A. and the like. So the fact is that it has been since—I believe: I speak subject to correction—last summer that the matter has been under discussion. As to when a statement will be made, I hope in the near future, but I cannot be more definite than that.