Shipbuilding Industry.

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 14th July 1931.

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Photo of Mr John Herriotts Mr John Herriotts , Sedgefield

13.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if any financial assistance is given by the German and Italian Governments to the shipbuilding industry; and whether those industries have any advantages or facilities over the shipbuilding industry in this country which have been conferred by State action?

Photo of Mr William Graham Mr William Graham , Edinburgh Central

In Germany to a small extent, and in Italy on a considerable scale, assistance is given by the Government to the shipbuilding industry. No similar assistance is given in this country. I am sending my hon. Friend a note giving some details of the assistance afforded by the German and Italian Governments.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Does the Italian assistance only apply to merchant ships, or does it include war vessels built for other Powers?

Photo of Mr William Graham Mr William Graham , Edinburgh Central

I am afraid that I should require notice of that question. At the moment, it certainly applies to merchant ships.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Will the right hon. Gentleman circulate the report.

Photo of Mr William Graham Mr William Graham , Edinburgh Central

I had not proposed to do that, but I will make the information available to hon. Members.

Photo of Mr John Herriotts Mr John Herriotts , Sedgefield

Has the right hon. Gentleman any scheme in contemplation to assist this industry, and will he consider, in cases where a definite order can be assured in a shipyard, giving some assistance for a limited period and with complete safeguards?

Photo of Mr William Graham Mr William Graham , Edinburgh Central

It is impossible to give a proper reply in answer to such a supplementary question, because, as was indicated, no State assistance either in cash or credit, can be given to shipbuilding in view of the enormous amount of tonnage lying idle. That might not preclude assistance to a very special class of vessel, such as ice-breakers, or something of that kind.

Mr. MACLEAN:

Will the right hon. Gentleman incorporate the note which he has offered to send to my hon. Friend in the OFFICIAL REPORT for the benefit of Members interested in shipbuilding constituencies?

Photo of Mr William Graham Mr William Graham , Edinburgh Central

I will consider that. I will see that the information is made available.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

Will it include the subsidy that is given to shipbuilding by France?