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Shipbuilders, East Anglia (Export Orders)

Oral Answers to Questions — Technology – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th March 1968.

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Photo of Mr Julian Ridsdale Mr Julian Ridsdale , Harwich 12:00 am, 18th March 1968

asked the Minister of Technology what was the value of export orders obtained by shipbuilders in East Anglia in 1967.

Photo of Mr Gerald Fowler Mr Gerald Fowler , The Wrekin

The value of export orders for vessels of 100 gross tons and over, taken in 1967, is estimated at £7 million. No information is available about export orders for vessels of under 100 gross tons.

Photo of Mr Julian Ridsdale Mr Julian Ridsdale , Harwich

Is not this a considerable achievement? Why should not shipbuilders in East Anglia have exactly the same help as shipbuilders in a development area? When will the Government cease supporting failure and support success for a change?

Photo of Mr Gerald Fowler Mr Gerald Fowler , The Wrekin

The successes enjoyed by the shipbuilding industry are not confined to East Anglia. The hon. Gentleman is well aware of the objects of the Government's development area policy. So far no firm evidence has been submitted which would lead us to consider making an exception of this one particular industry.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

Will the Minister be careful not to underestimate the importance of ships of less than 100 tons displacement? Will he, on the contrary, ensure that full recognition is given to the very real export effort being made by some of the smaller boatbuilders?

Photo of Mr Gerald Fowler Mr Gerald Fowler , The Wrekin

We in no sense underestimate the efforts being made by the boat builders, but it is conventional to draw a distinction at 100 tons between boats and ships.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

Why does my hon. Friend insist on not making an exception of one particular industry? Has not he heard of agriculture?

Photo of Mr Gerald Fowler Mr Gerald Fowler , The Wrekin

I am not sure that the agricultural support system is strictly relevant to the problems of the shipbuilding industry.