§ 17. Mr. Proctor
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom pulp, paper and board industry.
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
I am encouraged by signs of increased activity in the industry. Reports from it indicate that output is beginning to improve on last year's and, at least in some sectors, order books are lengthening.
§ Mr. Proctor
How does my hon. Friend foresee the pulp, paper and board industry of the United Kingdom faring within the new merged, sponsoring Department? In particular, how does he expect the competing claims of the printing and paper industries to be reconciled within the Department?
§ Mr. Baker
They will be reconciled with my responsibilities as well. The merger of the Departments of Trade and Industry was long overdue, because one cannot look at one part of an industry, such as the paper industry, without taking into account what is happening elsewhere—in this case in the printing and publishing industry. Now that the responsibilities in other industries have been transferred to me through the merger, I can take a much better and more comprehensive view of the interests of Britain as a whole.
§ Mr. Baker
There is good news on imports for the industry, because one major plant is about to come on 576 stream. The old Bowater Ellesmere Port plant, making newsprint, has been revitalised by Canadian investment. Another plant is to be built at Shotton. That will reduce the imports of newsprint significantly and is a demonstration that at last substantial investment is going into this industry.