§ Mr. Heddle
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what are his intentions regarding the English Industrial Estates Corporation; whether he has any plans to privatise part or whole of the corporation's portfolio; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Trippier
My right hon. Friend believes that the English Industrial Estates Corporation provides a valuable and cost effective service in facilitating new employment in areas where the private sector is unwilling to invest in industrial and commercial property, and intends that it should continue to do so. Inter alia, the corporation has a statutory duty, under guidelines issues by my right hon. Friend, to
- (a) promote private rather than public sector investment wherever possible;
- (b) withdraw its activities wherever there is sufficient private sector investment; and
- (c) dispose of its saleable assets to the private sector—either occupiers or investors— at market prices which reflect a reasonable return to the taxpayer.
My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the Corporation is discharging these tasks in accordance with its duty, but is naturally keeping its activities under continuing review.