Foreign Shipbuilders (Subsidies)

Oral Answers to Questions — Shipping – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st July 1964.

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Photo of Mr Stanley McMaster Mr Stanley McMaster , Belfast East 12:00 am, 1st July 1964

asked the Minister of Transport (1) what information he has obtained regarding the reduction in the past 12 months in the level of subsidies, direct and indirect, paid to foreign shipbuilders by their respective Governments;

(2) what change there has been in the last 12 months in the amount of subsidies paid by foreign Governments to assist their shipbuilding industries; and how this has affected the international competitiveness of British shipyards.

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

There have been no significant changes in subsidies paid in major shipbuilding countries in the past 12 months.

Photo of Mr Stanley McMaster Mr Stanley McMaster , Belfast East

Is my right hon. Friend aware how welcome the Shipbuilding Credit Act has been in assisting the shipbuilding industry to meet unfair competition from abroad? Will he reconsider his decision not to extend this credit further, in view of the continuance of subsidisation abroad and the difficulties that this is bound to create in the future for our shipbuilding industry?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

No, Sir. There will be no extension of that Measure. It was brought in as a once-for-all Measure, in order to give the shipbuilding industry a breathing space in which to reorganise itself and become competitive. That I hope it is doing. I know that it is considering a number of measures which, so far, it has not announced.

Photo of Sir Knox Cunningham Sir Knox Cunningham , South Antrim

Is not the position today much more favourable with regard to orders placed with United Kingdom shipyards?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

Yes. There has been a great improvement not only as a result of the Act but because of other circumstances. Our yards received a large number of orders in the early part of this year.