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Orders of the Day — European Community (Shipbuilding)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th July 1975.

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Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Industry) 12:00 am, 4th July 1975

I shall be coming to the question of Japan before I conclude. If I do not, perhaps my hon. Friend will remind me.

Article 2 of the directive provides that direct subsidies for the building of ships may continue until the end of 1975 when, with certain exceptions, they must come to an end. I think it is with this provision that the amendment proposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) and others is concerned.

Although the amendment has not been selected for discussion, it is right that I should speak on the points it raises. It refers to the elimination of direct building subsidies to the United Kingdom shipbuilding industry by the end of 1975. However, these subsidies have already been eliminated. Subsidies were given to the industry under the name of construction grants in the three years from 1972 to 1974 by virtue of Section 11 of the Industry Act 1972. There was no provision in that Act for the subsidies to be continued beyond the end of 1974 and we have not considered it appropriate or necessary to undertake the legislation which would have been required if construction grants were to go on. They have, therefore, come to an end. There is no direct building subsidy in respect of work done in shipyards after the end of 1974. So the directive does not affect our position one way or the other.