Saturday, 25 October 2014

NLP attacks foreign ownership of British industry

Redcar plantIN FEBRUARY, we featured an article – Youth unemployment – in which a National Liberal Party spokesman put forward several ideas to tackle youth unemployment. They included meaningful training schemes, apprenticeships and jobs.

Now the same spokesman, NLP National Secretary Mr. David Durant, has turned his attention to another economic issue – the foreign ownership of British industry.

To illustrate his concern, he looked at the recent closure of Teesside Cast Products (TCP) which was based in Redcar.


TCP is owned by Corus, “a customer focused, innovative value-driven company, which manufactures, processes and distributes steel products and services to customers worldwide.”


Corus describes TCP as a ‘Long Products Division.’ Corus, in turn, describes itself as Europe‘s second largest steel producer with annual revenues of around £12 billion and a crude steel production of over 20 million tonnes.”

Corus is a subsidiary of Tata Steel Group (TSG). Based in India, TSG is part of the multinational Tata Group. As well as steel, the Tata Group has interests in cars, IT, communication, power, tea and hospitality.

TSG took over Corus (itself an Anglo-Dutch concern – formed in October 1999 through the merger of British Steel and Koninklijke Hoogovens) in January 2007. Tata Steel purchased a 100% stake in the Corus Group, a deal which is thought to have cost $12.04 Billion. The deal represented the largest Indian takeover of a foreign company and made Tata Steel the world’s fifth-largest steel group.

Mr. Durant – who is also a member of the Executuve of the trade Union Solidarity said he was worried by this sort of foreign ownership of British industry.

He also expressed support for the view of Pat Harrington, the General Secretary of Solidarity. Mr. Harrington had noted:

“If the Government can find the money to prop up the banks – and bail out the fat cats – why can’t they help ordinary British workers?”

Mr. Durrant said that as “soon as the steel industry in Teesside got into trouble, it should have been nationalized.”

Mr. Durant also expanded on his views regarding the ownership of British industry:

”Anything that is vital to national sovereignty of
Britain should be nationalised. For starters, all heavy industry, energy and national transport like the trains should come under state protection.

I’m not interested in a policy of imperialism but Britain should be able to defend herself. We shouldn’t be in ridiculous position of having to have foreign-owned concerns build any part of our defensive capabilities. We must retain the capacity to build ships, planes, tanks, weapons and so on.

How these vital industries (operating under state protection) run themselves is another problem. Is there any point in replacing ‘international’ capitalism with ‘national’ capitalism. I don’t think so! The best solution would be for the workforce to have actual ownership of the workplace. In my view that would be best run on some form of co-operative or national syndicalist lines.”

The following should be read alongside this article:

Pension age to be raised? http://www.solidaritytradeunion.net/news-mainmenu-52/276-04012011-pension-age-to-be-raised
Youth unemployment soars. http://www.solidaritytradeunion.net/news-mainmenu-52/266-11122009-youth-unemployment-soars
Dave Durant attacks foreign ownership of British industry. http://www.solidaritytradeunion.net/news-mainmenu-52/300-07032010-dave-durant-attacks-foreign-ownership-of-british-industry.

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