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House of Commons

Wednesday 20 June 1990

The House met at half-past Two o'clock


[Mr. Speaker-- in the Chair ]


South Yorkshire Light Rail Transit (No. 2) Bill

Lords amendments considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendments.

Hon. Members : Object.

Debate to be resumed tomorrow.

Redbridge London Borough Council Bill

Order for consideration of Lords amendment read.

To be considered tomorrow.

Hasmonean High School Bill

[Lords] (By Order) Read a Second time, and committed.

Oral Answers to Questions


Computer Components

1. Mr. Leadbitter : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of the components of computers assembled in the United Kingdom are of (a) British and (b) European Economic Community origin.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs (Mr. Eric Forth) : Official statistics do not show the end uses of electronic components produced in the United Kingdom or the European Community. It is not possible, therefore, to give the information requested by the hon. Member.

Mr. Leadbitter : The Minister's reply is not encouraging, bearing in mind the known fact that neither the United Kingdom nor the Common Market produces any major computer components. Our share of computer components production thus reveals our low skills and damages our balance of payments. What will the Minister do to redress and reverse that damaging situation, bearing in mind the fact that research and development, and its funding, is going on apace in both Japan and America?

Mr. Forth : I regret that the hon. Gentleman wants to portray the industry in such a negative way. The House should know that the truth is that all the major countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, except Japan, have trade deficits in information technology. Another truth is that the United Kingdom has a large trade surplus in information technology with the rest of the European Community,

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which amounted to £900 million last year. Therefore, although it is unreasonable to pick on any one sector of the economy and to identify the trade flows within that sector, I should like the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends to see the industry for what it is--a successful and growing industry, which is attracting inward investment, creating employment and generally being a great success.

Mr. Jack : My hon. Friend will be aware that the aerospace industry is a major user of electronic and computer components. In the light of Monday's announcement about the cancellation of 33 Tornado aircraft, will my hon. Friend ensure that both the aerospace and electronics companies in Lancashire, which are so effective, are given the help of his Department's excellent enterprise scheme to support the workers who may lose their jobs?

Mr. Forth : My hon. Friend is correct to identify that the task that now faces all of us is to ensure that the employment that was previously provided by defence sector work is switched as quickly and effectively as possible to alternative work. My hon. Friend is also right to point out that we manufacture, export and re-export considerable quantities of both defence and civil equipment that contains a significant element of electronics componentry and information technology. I am sure that we all want that to continue. I note that, as ever, my hon. Friend is active in those matters and I can assure him that the Department of Trade and Industry will be helping to discover every possible way in which we can switch our efforts from defence to civil activities.

Dr. Moonie : I found the Minister's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Leadbitter) somewhat surprising because I am aware--and I thought that he would be--that his Department conducted a survey of computer manufacturers in this country over the past year, which identified a shortage of local suppliers for those components. Will the Minister confirm whether that is the case and tell us what his Department will do to improve that position?

Mr. Forth : The hon. Gentleman claims knowledge beyond that which I possess-- [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker : Order. Mr. Forth.

Mr. Forth : I can confirm that the hon. Gentleman is correct in saying that the Department has commissioned and is undertaking the survey to which he referred. That work is as yet incomplete. The hon. Gentleman may be prepared to jump to conclusions on the basis of incomplete information, but neither I nor my colleages are prepared to do so. The hon. Gentleman will have to contain himself, be a bit patient and wait for the full results to emerge before we jump to any conclusions.

Miss Emma Nicholson : Will my hon. Friend confirm that computer companies do not know what proportion of components are manufactured in the United Kingdom? The computer companies are keenly interested in what I sense is the underlying purpose of the question, which is to discover the quantity of components that come here from Japan. As yet there are no answers, and I do not believe that the Department will be able to find them at this stage.

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Leadbitter) may be inaccurate in his

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statement that few hardware components are manufactured in the United Kingdom? I am delighted to say that hard disc manufacturing takes place in West Germany and in Denmark, for example. That is the central story of component manufacturing--

Hon. Members : Too long.

Mr. Speaker : Order. I think that that is enough.

Mr. Forth : My hon. Friend is renowned for her knowledge of the industry. I am grateful to her for her assistance in clarification. An important point has been made and it is one of which we should not lose sight. We are talking of a global industry in which components move freely across international boundaries. Goods are assembled and manufactured in a variety of different ways. To seek to identify whether components flow one way or another is probably a futile exercise. I doubt whether we could base any policy initiatives on such information.

British Steel

2. Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he intends to meet the British Steel board and shareholders at the annual general meeting of British Steel.

5. Mr. Canavan : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will meet the chairman of British Steel to discuss the future of Ravenscraig ; and if he will make a statement.

9. Mr. McKelvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he next plans to meet the chairman of British Steel to discuss the future of the Scottish steel industry.

10. Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he intends to meet the British Steel board and shareholders at the annual general meeting of British Steel.

19. Mr. Maxton : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has recently met the chairman of British Steel to discuss British Steel's plans for future capacity.

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Nicholas Ridley) : With permission, I shall answer Question 2 together with Questions 5, 9, 10 and 19.

Mr. Maxton : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Ridley : I met the chairman of British Steel--

Mr. Maxton : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have just heard the Secretary of State say that he is taking Question 19, which is in my name, with Question 2 and others. I must inform you, Mr. Speaker, that this is the first that I have heard of this grouping. I might well not have been in my place at this stage--

Mr. Speaker : Order. That is a matter for departmental Ministers to decide. I have often heard hon. Members complain that their questions have not been brought before us. I have never heard anyone complain that his question will be called.

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Mr. Ridley : I met the chairman of British Steel on 5 June and have no plans at this stage for a further meeting. Although I do not expect to attend British Steel's annual general meeting, I shall be represented.

Mr. Salmond : Has the Secretary of State read the comments attributed to Sir Robert Scholey in The Guardian this morning? The report states that British Steel has invested £100 million in a German steel plant, because after 1992 the United Kingdom will no longer be the centre of gravity for manufacturing in the European Community. Where does the right hon. Gentleman think that the centre of gravity lies for supplying the millions of tonnes of steel products that will be required in the North sea market throughout the 1990s? If British Steel is unwilling to supply the products from Scotland, will the right hon. Gentleman go to British Steel's annual general meeting and argue for those productive assets to be turned over to an international investor who would be willing to make a success of the Scottish operation?

Mr. Ridley : I am a very small shareholder in British Steel. I do not think that any views that I should express at the annual general meeting would carry much weight. British Steel is becoming an international company of great repute and success. The fact that it is extending its activities into the Community is something that the hon. Gentleman should welcome. It is not my job to second-guess how best to go about improving the company's performance.

Mr. Canavan : Will the Secretary of State condemn the chairman's failure to meet the trade union representatives at Ravenscraig and will he urge the chairman to do so now, instead of simply writing a secret letter to the Secretary of State for Scotland in a vain effort to try and justify the closure of the hot strip mill? Will the Government publish the contents of that letter, in view of the great public anxiety about what until recently was a publicly owned industry and British Steel's failure so far to give any public justification for the proposed closure, which would have a devastating effect on the whole Scottish economy?

Mr. Ridley : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have urged British Steel to discuss its proposals with and explain them to the work force and the trade unions, as the hon. Gentleman suggests. Secondly, my right hon. and learned Friend has requested British Steel to agree to the publication of the letter to which the hon. Gentleman refers. No response has yet been received, but the request has been made.

Mr. McKelvey : Nevertheless, is not it the case that recently a group of Scottish Labour Members briefed the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on the devastating effect that the closure would have on the Scottish economy? Therefore, will he abandon this glaikit approach and adopt a more progressive approach? Will he say from the Dispatch Box whether he is prepared to line up fully with the Secretary of State for Scotland to lead the fight against British Steel and get it to reverse this scandalous, vandalous decision against the Scottish economy?

Mr. Ridley : Indeed, a group of Labour Members came to visit me and at the end of the day they said that they were grateful for the support that I had offered the Secretary of State for Scotland. The hon. Gentleman is

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wrong on that point. The more I hear about the matter, the less I can discover what the difference is between the Government and the Labour party. The Labour party does not appear to have the slightest intention of wanting to renationalise British Steel, nor to make subsidies to rescue the Ravenscraig plant, nor to take the power to issue directives to British Steel. Our position is exactly the same and I cannot see what the argument is about.

Mrs. Ewing : Cannot the Secretary of State understand that his laissez faire approach is equated with a don't care approach in Scotland and that his hands-off philosophy means that he is washing his hands of the steel industry in Scotland? Given the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) and the fact that British Steel is also considering an additional acquisition in Spain and joint ventures in France and West Germany, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether his Department ever takes Scotland into its consideration and whether the assets of British Steel in Scotland will be used to the advantage of the Scottish economy?

Mr. Ridley : The hon. Lady must direct her strictures at the Labour party in Scotland, which shares our view that the Government should seek only to examine carefully the arguments that British Steel advances, to respond to them and to discuss them with British Steel with a view, we hope, to winning British Steel over to our view. That is what the Government are doing and what the Labour party wants to do. The Labour party does not go anything like as far as the hon. Lady and the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond). She should pursue her quarrel with the Labour party, not with us.

Mr. Maxton : Does the Secretary of State agree with the Secretary of State for Scotland that British Steel should reverse its decision to close the Ravenscraig strip mill? Can we have a clear answer that the Secretary of State believes in demanding the reversal of that closure decision?

Mr. Ridley : I am delighted to tell the hon. Gentleman that the parliamentary clerk in my Department rang the hon. Gentleman's secretary at 10.15 am with the information that his question was to be included in this group. I am sorry if the hon. Gentleman did not get the message. On his substantive question, I have nothing to add to what the House decided in a debate. The motion was passed and the Government are busy, actively pursuing it. That is the right answer to the hon. Gentleman's question.

Mr. Bill Walker : Does my right hon. Friend realise that many Conservative Members believe that commercial decisions should properly be left to commercial managers? However, we also believe that in a modern, dynamic economy, management should consult the workers fully and adequately, particularly when their production records have never been achieved before and are beating those of foreign competitors. If British Steel has no place for its Scottish plants in its future plans--it is perfectly entitled not to--it should honour its promise and put them up for sale now as a going concern.

Mr. Ridley : I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that this is ultimately a commercial decision for British Steel. I support his assertion that British Steel's efficiency is becoming formidable. It now produces 347 tonnes per man year, well above the EEC average of 330 tonnes. If it is to

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remain at the head of the world league of steel producers, we must not unnecessarily fetter its commercial decision making. I have already agreed that it is a good principle that companies should consult their work forces and persuade them of the rightness of their decisions.

Mr. Holt : Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is a long time since British Steel was taken out of the public sector, away from inept Ministers making inept decisions that cost taxpayers millions of pounds per day? The money is now redirected into social services, hospital building and other sectors, instead of being squandered and wasted. This year, British Steel has a record profit of £733 million and is the envy of steel makers throughout the world.

Mr. Ridley : I agree with my hon. Friend that I should be as inept as my predecessors in trying to judge the steel market or to run a steel industry. Those are not my skills.

Mr. Favell : My right hon. Friend will hear continuously from the Labour party, especially Scottish Members, about the--as they term it-- deindustrialisation of Scotland. Does he agree that if the Scots were not so bellicose towards management trying to make proper management decisions, people would be more inclined to invest and remain invested there?

Mr. Ridley : As an English Borderer, I should not dare to express any views on the subject raised by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Quentin Davies : Is not it a most astonishing sign of the extraordinary turn-round that has taken place in British manufacturing industry in the past few years that British Steel, once regarded as the sick man of the international steel industry, should now be buying a venerable German company in what is traditionally regarded as the most sophisticated steel market in the world?

Mr. Ridley : I believe that our industry needs excellence, leading to domination of world markets. The House will agree not only that British Steel has done remarkably well in the short time since it was released from the public sector, but that none of us wants to do anything to hamper it from doing even better in future.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : Does not the Secretary of State recognise that he has responsibility for both competition and trade policy? In those circumstances, can he be complacent about the fact that British Steel is a monopoly producer in the United Kingdom that can run down assets and deny them to a potential competitor that might service the market and keep down prices? Why does he stand by and allow British Steel to abandon markets in the North sea and Europe, which could be served by a Scottish-based competitor?

Mr. Ridley : Neither of the hon. Gentleman's hypotheses has yet happened. He will know that various people have written to the Director General of Fair Trading about the proposed closure of the strip mill. The director general is considering those representations and will give me advice. If I receive advice from him--as I am sure I shall--I shall consider it carefully when making any decision. One cannot presume a decision about closure or refusal to supply markets in advance of its being taken.

Mr. Oppenheim : Was not Ravenscraig originally built at the behest of politicians? Is not it also the case that

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political meddling over the years has done a great deal of damage to the British steel industry? Bearing in mind the incredible record of British Steel's management over the past few years as opposed to the record of politicians, would not the best course be for the Government to let the management get on with its job?

Mr. Ridley : I confirm what my hon. Friend has said. The decision to build the steelworks at Ravenscraig was part of a policy of splitting the family silver in half, if I may put it that way. I also entirely agree with him that the reason for the recent success of British Steel has been the freeing of the management from constraints in order to allow it to get on with doing best what only it knows how.

Mr. Gordon Brown : Will the Minister confirm precisely that the Government's policy is to deplore the closure and to ask for it to be reconsidered with a view to the decision being reversed? Will he tell us and list precisely what he has done to implement that objective? Will he and the Secretary of State for Scotland now meet the board of British Steel to discuss the letter that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has received and will he refer the matter to the Office of Fair Trading and ask it to look at monopoly and restrictive practices? Will he conduct an independent assessment within government of the strip mill's prospects and will he end the do nothing, care nothing, listen to nothing attitude that characterises the performance of the Department of Trade and Industry in this matter as in everything else?

Mr. Ridley : Curiously enough, the hon. Gentleman must not have been listening because I have already answered all those questions. He has not answered my question, which I shall repeat. In what respect does the Government's policy differ from the policy of the Labour party--not that of the Scottish Nationalists? This is a row between the Scottish Nationalist party and the Scottish Labour party. Does he agree that Labour has no intention of renationalising British Steel, that it cannot subsidise it and does not have powers of direction? The Labour party should stop this discreditable conduct and end the pain that it is trying to inflict on the House.

Trade Deficit

3. Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last met his Japanese and United States counterparts to discuss the United Kingdom trade deficit ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ridley : I have regular meetings with my Japanese and United States counterparts at which the full range of trade issues affecting our countries are discussed.

Mrs. Gorman : I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply. Does he agree, to paraphrase what the Leader of the Opposition said last week, that that question is even sillier than it seems because the inflow of capital from the United States and Japan far exceeds whatever the trade deficit figure is said to be? It is ridiculous for the House frequently to flagellate itself about trade deficits when more than 190 top European companies are based in Britain and operate in other countries remitting profits to Britain. The trade balance merely measures packets of salt going backwards and forwards across Customs.

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Mr. Ridley : I agree with my hon. Friend that Britain's massive investment in industrial and commercial assets overseas benefits probably more than 14 out of 15 people, if I may also quote the Leader of the Opposition. I must part company with her slightly on one matter because I should like to see the trade deficit reduced. It is important for us to regain our share of world trade, increase our exports and reduce our imports.

Mr. Hoyle : Would not it be true to say that that complacent and lethargic approach basically matches the performance of the Department of Trade and Industry? I am not aware of the Secretary of State's desires in relation to flagellation. He would do far better to address himself to the ever-growing deficit with Japan, the United States and West Germany and to use the endeavours of his Department to ensure that there is more investment in British industry and that it is more competitive in relation to those countries.

Mr. Ridley : The hon. Gentleman must keep the facts in mind. We have a tiny deficit with the United States and over the past four years we have had a surplus in total. The Japanese deficit is relatively small and is improving ; the German deficit is the real problem. One cannot put those problems entirely at the door of the Government, as some of them result from the fact that British unit labour costs are rising at 8.1 per cent. annually, whereas our competitors' unit labour costs are not.

Mr. David Martin : Does my right hon. Friend agree that if reports that the BBC world service is to cut back on its service to Japan are true, that would have an unhelpful effect on our trading relationship with Japan?

Mr. Ridley : I have no knowledge of those facts and that matter is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.


4. Mr. Haynes : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the current balance of trade in textiles.

Mr. Forth : Latest available figures show that imports of textiles exceeded exports by £1,564 million in the 12 months to March 1990.

Mr. Haynes : Is the Minister aware that when I worked at the pit and we had our summer holidays, we brought the ponies out from the stables down in the pit and put them in a field for the holidays? Could I suggest that the Secretary of State should be farmed out with them, and that we should leave him there because of the response that I have just had from the Minister? Is he aware that 153,000 jobs have been lost in textiles and that the east midlands has really suffered? I want to know what is going to happen. The Secretary of State should pull his socks up. Let us do something for the textile industry.

Mr. Forth : Everyone is painfully aware of the difficulties that have arisen in the textile sector, affecting many parts of the country for some years. On the other hand, we should also be aware that the overall trade gap, as I mentioned, is going down--in this context perhaps I should say "shrinking"--slightly year by year and that certain significant sectors of the industry--woollen, worsted, flax and soft furnishings--are in surplus. That

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shows that it would be helpful if the industry directed itself towards high-quality, high-value-added manufacture, in which our excellence of design and quality of manufacture can be brought to bear in a world trading context. That would make a great difference to the future of the industry.

Mrs. Peacock : Will my hon. Friend welcome the continual growth of export manufactures, especially of woollen textiles, which are of high value, from Yorkshire and our part of the world over the past five years? We have many good examples of what is happening in Yorkshire. Does he think that that growth would continue under a Labour Government?

Mr. Forth : I am well aware of the great interest and support that my hon. Friend gives to the industry in her part of the world. I have had the honour to visit parts of that industry. I suspect that were there ever to be a change of Government and a change of policy--if we knew what policies would emanate from the Opposition ; that is still entirely unclear --the type of measures that could emanate from the Opposition would cripple the textile industry as well as all other industries by adding to costs and prejudicing their competitive position, which is showing some signs of improvement.

Mr. Janner : Does the Under-Secretary not know that the textile industry in Leicester and the whole of the east midlands is in a state of catastrophic decline and depression, and that the Government are continuing to do nothing to assist it? What are the Government prepared to do now, before the industry practically disappears?

Mr. Forth : The hon. and learned Gentleman raises another question in my mind--what would he or his party do about it? I am not aware of anything in the Labour party's latest convoluted policy document that deals with the industry in any way. If the Opposition are saying that they would put money into the textile industry, I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will consult his leader and ask where the money is to come from, since his leader seems to be totally confused about where it would come from and where it would go to.

Industry (Grants)

6. Mr. Gill : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people are employed in his Department dealing with grants to industry ; and what is their estimated annual cost.

The Minister for Industry (Mr. Douglas Hogg) : The Department's main schemes involving grants to industry are regional selective assistance, regional development grants, regional enterprise grants, the consultancy initiative and support for R and D and innovation. Some 850 of the Department's staff work on the development of policy and administration of these schemes at an estimated annual cost of £19 million. That represents some 7 per cent. of the Department's total manpower.

Mr. Gill : Does my hon. and learned Friend agree that all the human and financial resources currently targeted at individual commercial projects would be better spent on infrastructure for the benefit of all taxpayers and that, in conjunction with the lower wage rates and property values in the regions, that would be the best way of stimulating permanent and sustainable employment in those areas?

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Mr. Hogg : My hon. Friend makes two valuable points. Most certainly the Government should invest in infrastructure and most certainly the regions can do a great deal for themselves. But regional assistance through Government grant is also important. I am glad to say that since April 1987 regional selective assistance is estimated to have created or safeguarded about 185,000 jobs in Great Britain.

Mr. John D. Taylor : In view of the large number of people employed, do the British taxpayers of Northern Ireland contribute to their salaries?

Mr. Hogg : I rather hope so.

Mr. Ward : Does my hon. and learned Friend agree that it seems that an astonishingly large number of people distribute the money? Would not it be better to get rid of them and of the grant and cut taxes?

Mr. Hogg : I am glad to say that the Government have an unequal record in cutting taxes. We have done better than any Government at any time. Regional selective assistance and regional policy are also important and should be pursued.

Mr. Gordon Brown : On the question of grants to industry and the European Commission's extended consideration of industry grants given in the Rover deal, will the Minister admit to the House the extent of not only the hidden subsidies given in grants to British Aerospace but the hidden subsidies in the form of tax concessions, which Lord Young has admitted could be worth millions of pounds? Will the Minister take this opportunity to admit to the House, to which he should have reported months ago, that in offering hidden subsidies which should have been declared, the Government were guilty of not only incompetence but deception?

Mr. Hogg : There are several unpleasant features about the hon. Gentleman. One of them is that he is doing his best to persuade the Commission to penalise British Aerospace more than it should. That is a disreputable policy of which he should be profoundly ashamed.


7. Mr. Mans : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last met his European counterparts to discuss the treatment of cars manufactured in the United Kingdom by Japanese-owned companies.

Mr. Ridley : I discussed the subject yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Council. I have insisted that cars manufactured in the European Commission by Japanese-owned companies should continue to enjoy unlimited free circulation throughout the Community, and I believe that that has now been accepted.

Mr. Mans : Will my right hon. Friend continue to welcome investment by Japanese companies in Britain? Will he assure me that the European Commission will treat motor cars manufactured by those companies in this country in exactly the same way as they treat motor cars manufactured by Ford and General Motors in Germany?

Mr. Ridley : Yes, Sir. I have insisted on that point, despite contrary views within the Community. In the meeting yesterday I discerned that it has now been firmly established that we are acting within the treaty of Rome in

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demanding that that be the case. I am also happy to say that satisfactory progress has been made on the whole issue.

Sir Hal Miller : In his discussions, has my right hon. Friend been able to discover the basis of the objection to British workers in British factories making vehicles from European components financed by British money? What possible basis can there be for objecting to the free circulation of those vehicles throughout the Common Market? Has my right hon. Friend taken note of joint ventures by Japanese companies with companies in the countries of our continental partners and of the joint ventures that they have established in third-world countries such as Brazil, Mexico and the far east--to say nothing of eastern Europe?

Mr. Ridley : In my opinion, there can be no question but that cars manufactured in this country are part of Community production. I see no reason why any member state should think otherwise. On my hon. Friend's second point, there are more than 90 major Japanese investments in France, for example--and no one has suggested that the products of those factories should be treated as other than Community production. Nor do I believe for one moment than anyone could or should.

Mr. Cryer : Has the Secretary of State studied yesterday's decision by the Luxembourg court and its potential effect on Government decisions-- for example, in car manufacturing? Does that decision mean that a manufacturer anywhere in the world who is dissatisfied with the position and actions taken by the British Government--for example, in giving regional selective assistance to a car component manufacturer in Scotland, Yorkshire or elsewhere--could apply to a British court and have the Government's decision, and legislation passed by this Parliament, suspended? If it could do that, it would set the Government and Parliament at naught. Should not the Government and Parliament resist such action?

Mr. Ridley : I cannot claim to be a lawyer, who could pronounce on such matters. I have read the articles that appeared in this morning's press, and feel that the hon. Gentleman would be wiser to seek an interpretation from someone more skilled in the law. It was always implicit on our joining the Community that we should have control over our affairs from the centre as to where we yielded in that respect. That is the importance of the doctrine of subsidiarity in making clear where the boundary is.

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