§ Q209. Mr. Quentin Davies
To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on progress made in rationalising the steel industry since 1979.
§ The Prime Minister
During the period since 1979 the Government promoted the Phoenix joint ventures involving private sector steel companies and the (then nationalised) British Steel Corporation and also a private sector steel scheme. These initiatives have now ceased but they reduced product overlap between the private and public sectors and contributed towards rationalisation within the industry as a whole. British Steel itself was then returned to the private sector in December 1988 and recently announced record profits of £593 million compared with substantial losses while nationalised. Productivity in the United Kingdom steel industry rose by 151 per cent. between 1979 and 1988.