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Export Orders

Oral Answers to Questions — Shipbuilding – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th July 1952.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North 12:00 am, 30th July 1952

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what action he is taking, in view of the necessity for increasing exports, to assist the shipbuilding industry to complete its export orders more speedily.

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Hereford

As indicated in the White Paper "Economic Survey for 1947" (Command No. 7046) the shipbuilding industry—whether building for foreign or United Kingdom owners—is recognised to be of just the same importance, as an earner of foreign exchange, as an industry producing entirely for export. Merchant ships building for foreign owners are not, therefore, given preference over those building for United Kingdom owners.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that today we have 24 more berths unoccupied than nine months ago and, unless the Government do something about it, it is making nonsense about the statements of giving priority to export?

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Hereford

I think that is a different question. The details given to me are different from the information which the hon. Gentleman has.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

The details I have given are given in this week's "Lloyds List."

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Hereford

The hon. Gentleman should not be misled by "Lloyds List." It is somewhat different to the figures given by the Admiralty. The Admiralty deal with keels laid down and "Lloyds List" deal with the stage when work on prefabricated sections begins. They are not really comparable.

Air Commodore Harvey:

Will my right hon. Friend agree that if this situation had been taken care of 15 months ago by the previous Administration these berths would now be filled? It is their responsibility.

Photo of Mr James Hoy Mr James Hoy , Edinburgh Leith

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that unemployment in the shipbuilding yards in the east of Scotland is certainly worsening every week, and that only last week a further 50 shipbuilding workers were discharged from the shipbuilding yard of Henry Robb, Leith? What steps is he taking to increase the allocation of steel to maintain these people in employment?

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Hereford

That is another question. There are other Questions on the Order Paper dealing with that matter.