Nationalised Industries

Oral Answers to Questions — Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th April 1976.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley , Greenwich Woolwich West 12:00 am, 5th April 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what measures the Government are considering to improve their relationships with the nationalised industries under his responsibility.

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

The National Economic Development Office is currently carrying out a detailed study of the rôle of the nationalised industries in the economy and of the ways in which they are to be controlled in the future. The Government will publish their views on the NEDO study at the appropriate time.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley , Greenwich Woolwich West

Will the Secretary of State tell us whether there are planning agreements with the nationalised industries, and to what extent they have been or will be published?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

There will be planning agreements with the nationalised industries, and it is certainly the Government's intention to publish them.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

In view of the low morale in the steel industry, have the Government made clear to the new Chairman of the Corporation that he can rely on the total support of the Government for the Corporation's programme to make the industry competitive and profitable?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

Of course, the Chairman will get our co-operation. A great deal of work has been done over the last few months. Discussions took place at the turn of the year between the Corporation and unions and an agreement was reached. If that agreement is implemented, there will be improvements.

Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Industry

How many nationalised industries know the targets they are expected to achieve over any of the next three years?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

A great deal of work has to be done on this. The nationalised industries' financial targets are in a mess because of the incompetent interference by the previous Administration in the prices structure.

Photo of Mr Edwin Wainwright Mr Edwin Wainwright , Dearne Valley

When my right hon. Friend has discussions with the chairmen of the nationalised industries, will he ask them to examine their lines of communications with middle management?

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

I agree with my hon. Friend that those at the point of production must know the corporations' plans. The policy of developing industrial democracy and strengthening it, in consultation with the nationalised industries, will contribute to that.