HC Deb 15 December 1936 vol 318 cc2263-4
12. Miss WARD

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the demands made on available shipyards, he would consider discussing with National Ship-Builders Securities, Limited, the advisability of reopening some of the yards closed under their auspices?


The question of the sufficiency of shipbuilding capacity is kept under constant review and is discussed from time to time with National Shipbuilders Security, Limited. I understand that at present, in spite of the improved conditions, the work obtainable is sufficient to occupy only 55 per cent. of the available capacity. There is, I fear, no prospect of finding work for yards additional to those already available.


Is the right hon. Gentleman quite satisfied that foreign owners wanting ships built in this country can get the same consideration as they have had previously; and might not that be a point worth discussion with the shipbuilders?


As far as I know, they are in no way impeded by the shortage of berths. The number of berths now available is more than the number of orders that can be placed.


Is not the difficulty that there are not enough men available for the work?


Is my right hon. Friend aware that within the last few weeks the National Ship-Builders Securities, Limited, have purchased a modern yard on the Wear, and if he is not prepared to consider reopening the yards which have already been closed down, will he at any rate take steps to see that no further yards are closed?


If the hon. Gentleman will send particulars of that case, I will have it inquired into.