Is it beyond the capacity of the Minister to find out what British tonnage is being repaired abroad and what number of men are displaced in this country because ships are repaired abroad and the amount of money paid in unemployment benefit to those men? Will he examine the position again?
I do not think it would be right to restrict British ship owners to British repair yards, because foreign Governments might then restrict repair of their ships to their yards. In 1962 over £8 million was spent by foreign ship owners on repairs done here and this was 13½ per cent. of the total value of work done by ship repairers in this country. It would not be in their interests to follow this suggestion.
In view of the value to British shipbuilding yards of repair work, will my right hon. Friend consider extending credit terms, in the same way as for shipbuilding, for the repair of British ships in British yards?
Will my right hon. Friend remember that there is great preference on the part of British ship owners to get their ships repaired in this country, but obviously if a ship breaks down at the other end of the world it cannot he brought home for repair?