HC Deb 20 March 1950 vol 472 cc1542-3
41. Mr. Ralph Morley

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that ships have been diverted from British yards to Dutch yards for repair because the Dutch yards have more modern equipment; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Barnes)

British ships sometimes go to Dutch yards for repairs just as Dutch and other foreign ships sometimes come to the United Kingdom because it happens in the particular case to be quicker or cheaper or more convenient to do so. There is no evidence that the equipment of the Dutch yards is superior to that of the British yards.

Mr. Morley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Hilversum radio on 1st December last stated that British ships were being sent to Dutch yards because the Dutch yards have more modern equipment, and that this statement caused some anxiety?

Mr. Barnes

I am only too delighted to repudiate that because, as a matter of fact, there is much more foreign shipping repaired in British yards than British shipping in foreign yards.

Mr. Awbery

Can the Minister give us the proportion of foreign ships repaired in British yards and British ships repaired in foreign yards?

Mr. Barnes

I shall be delighted to give it if my hon. Friend will put down a Question.

Commander Noble

Can the Minister tell us the difference in repairing costs, if any, between the British and the Dutch yards?

Mr. Barnes

They vary, of course, according to the ships and from time to time.

Mr. Keenan

Can my right hon. Friend say, from the information he has had, whether it is because of the cheapness of repair work on the Continent that ships are repaired there instead of at home?

Mr. Barnes

That may be a factor, but it does not alter my other statement that, on balance, the advantage is with Me British yards.