asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what agreement has been reached with the United States of America, or is contemplated, whereby this country will concentrate on the building of tankers at the expense of passenger and merchant vessels.
Until the United States Congress has completed its consideration of the proposed measures to aid European recovery, discussion with the United States Administration of any of the proposals before the Congress would be inappropriate. Consequently no agreement has been reached or is at present contemplated in regard to the building of tankers at the expense of other types of ship. In fact, however, tankers represent an increasing proportion of the new tonnage to be laid down. Since the figures in the Paris Report were prepared last summer, some adjustment has had to be made in the estimate of United Kingdom shipbuilding output owing to the increasing shortage of materials.
Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that there is a wide spread feeling that the 20 per cent. cut in the allocation of steel to the shipbuilding industry is an attempt to meet by different means the end which is indicated in the Question?
Is not the Chancellor aware that this effort of America, which is being made following his decision to cut the steel supply, will cause a very large amount of unemployment in the ship-building industry, which is one of the most important industries of this country?