Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:25 pm on 23rd January 1992.

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Photo of Malcolm Bruce Malcolm Bruce Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry) 8:25 pm, 23rd January 1992

No; the hon. Gentleman will get his own chance to speak.

The workers at Ravenscraig have been seeking to mobilise opinion for years to try to ensure that the steel industry had a future in Scotland. At the time of Gartcosh, the Conservatives could have done something about it but they tried to deflect a genuine attempt to investigate the implications of that decision. When it came to privatisation, the Secretary of State explained on three or four occasions why the Government did not explore the option put forward by the hon. Member for Motherwell, South (Dr. Bray) or some similar option to create a competitor to British Steel at the time of privatisation. Instead, the Government gave the limp and weak response that they had to suffer from the fact that the industry had been nationalised and, as usual, they tried to blame the previous Government. The reality is that the entire ideology of privatisation has been about privatising monopolies to maximise the price—and to hell with competition policy and the real strategic interests for the future of the industry and the economy.

Once the Government let that opportunity go and we knew that Bob Scholey, with his commitment, was to become chairman of British Steel, Ravenscraig's future was sealed.