Businesses Liable to Vesting

Part of Clause 34 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th April 1970.

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Photo of Mr Peter Mahon Mr Peter Mahon , Preston South 12:00 am, 29th April 1970

It is the duty of the Government to cover the contingencies mentioned by the hon. Member. There will be difficulties and complexities. This is a serious undertaking. I do not concede that there will be great success in the early stages. It will be a long, hard road. Anyone who saw the task of a national authority in an industry such as this as anything but difficult would be living in cloud-cuckoo-land. However difficult the task, it is well worth while.

Hon. Members opposite fear difficulties which will not arise. For instance, they say that the owners of businesses are aggrieved. I do not accept that. Owners of businesses have seen the writing on the wall for a long time. Stevedoring authorities and the owners of smaller businesses ancillary to the dock industry have been reconciled to the nationalisation of the docks for a long time. What amazed them was that the proposal was so long delayed. They appreciated the breathing space they had, and they took advantage of it.

The prosperity of our dock industry has receded in recent years because the sword of Damocles was hanging over the heads of owners of small businesses and stevedoring authorities; so they did not put their all into the development of their businesses.