Ravenscraig

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:36 pm on 23rd January 1992.

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Photo of Mr Ian Lang Mr Ian Lang , Galloway and Upper Nithsdale 7:36 pm, 23rd January 1992

I am most grateful to my hon. Friend and hope that there will be time in the debate for the House to benefit from his experience.

The tone of the Opposition's motion is without doubt interventionist, dirigiste, and very much in the mould of the old Labour party, calling for the Government to explore with determination every possible means of saving the steel industry in Scotland". Indeed, it isn't intervention that the steel industry needs. What the steel industry needs is a more vibrant domestic market, specially in the manufacturing sector and a chance therefore to make even further increases in their productivity and be more competitive in difficult international markets. The industry does not need some civil servant or minister sitting on their shoulder saying to them well, strategically this is what we think you should do". That is what I believe. It is also what the Leader of the Opposition believes. Those were not my words but his words from today's Financial Times. He said: it isn't intervention that the steel industry needs … some civil servant or Minister sitting on their shoulder saying to them well, strategically this is what we think you should do. That quotation clearly puts the House in great difficulty. It discredits and disqualifies about 90 per cent. of what the hon. Member for Garscadden just said. But the position becomes more confusing. The interventionist motion tabled today calling for the Government to explore with determination every possible means of saving the steel industry bears the name of the Leader of the Opposition. Yet the article appeared in the Financial Times today with a quotation in inverted commas which gives the directly opposite view. Which is the view of the Leader of the Opposition—let alone that of the Labour party?