holding answer 18 November 2003
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry met Paul Barron on 6 May 2003 to discuss Alstom's general restructuring plans and their impact on the company's operations in the UK, including Washwood Heath. Details of discussions between Ministers and company representatives must, for commercial reasons, remain confidential under Exemption 13—Third Party's Commercial confidences, of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, but Mr. Barron stressed the need for the company to undertake global restructuring in order to address mounting debts and ensure a viable future. The Secretary of State has had discussions with Mr. Barron on a number of other occasions and these were detailed in her letter to you of 1 September 2003.