Oral Answers to Questions — Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th January 1980.

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Photo of Hon. Adam Butler Hon. Adam Butler , Bosworth

My right hon. Friend last met the CBI on 3 December 1979.

Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester West

Is the Secretary of State not expecting to meet the CBI to consult it, and the Secretary of State for Employment, about the effects that recent court decisions are having on industrial relations, and hence on industry? Will he emphasise to the CBI that these decisions causing, as they do, understandable ill-will between the trade unions and the courts, are bad for the rule of law, bad for industrial relations and very bad for our industry?

Photo of Hon. Adam Butler Hon. Adam Butler , Bosworth

My right hon. Friend will meet the CBI as he thinks appropriate, and, indeed, his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment, if that is appropriate. The hon. and learned Gentleman heard what my right hon. Friend said about the most recent decision.

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale

Is my hon. Friend aware that many member firms of the CBI are concerned that the steel strike will lead to a delay in the completion of new industrial premises that would have been completed by 1 August of this year and rank for regional development grant? Because of that delay will he extend the period?

Photo of Hon. Adam Butler Hon. Adam Butler , Bosworth

I do not think that we can extend the period. What my hon. Friend says is correct. This is one of the many consequences of the strike.

Photo of Mr Hilary Miller Mr Hilary Miller , Bromsgrove and Redditch

When the Secretary of State next meets the chairman of the CBI, will he discuss the difference in treatment given to capital investment by nationalised industries compared with that given to private industries? Nationalised industries are not able effectively to finance their capital investment. For example, British Rail is required to take the whole cost of a ship within one year's cash limit instead of being able to finance it over several years.

Photo of Hon. Adam Butler Hon. Adam Butler , Bosworth

I am not sure of the example on which my hon. Friend is drawing when he talks of one ship. As he knows, we are trying to establish the activities of the nationalised sector on a thoroughly commercial basis.

Photo of Mr Allen McKay Mr Allen McKay , Penistone

Following the hon. Gentleman's reply on regional aid, may I ask why the period cannot be extended to take into consideration the number of days of the strike? Why cannot the period be extended by that number of days?

Photo of Hon. Adam Butler Hon. Adam Butler , Bosworth

If the hon. Gentleman is asking that every time we have a strike there should be an extension of the period, I have to tell him that that is not practicable. There is also the public expenditure consideration. As always, he and his hon. Friends are asking for more taxpayers' money to bail out an industry in circum stances such as we have in the present steel strike.