HC Deb 26 November 1953 vol 521 cc498-9
7. Mr. Bence

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what credit limitations are imposed by British banks, under his instructions, on foreign shipowners placing orders for ships with British shipbuilders.

Mr. Maudling

The hon. Member is no doubt referring to cases that have arisen under the current procedure of the Capital Issues Committee whereby a bank advance for this purpose may be authorised only if there are definite arrangements for early repayment or the substitution of more permanent finance. As my right hon. Friend said on 17th November, in reply to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), he is considering the matter.

Mr. Bence

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Chairman of the Shipping Federation, as reported yesterday, has stated that we are being ousted from many foreign markets for British goods by credit facilities provided by banks and institutions in other countries, which are enabling Japan and Germany to undercut us and to give quicker deliveries than the British shipbuilding industry is able to do? Will he consider enlarging the facilities for British shipowners to enable them to compete and pay decent wages to the people they employ?

Mr. Maudling

My right hon. Friend is aware that there is a real difficulty here, although its effects to date can easily be exaggerated. For that reason, he is urgently considering the whole situation.

Miss Ward

Would my hon. Friend like to come to the North-East Coast and discuss the matter with shipbuilding interests, who would be very pleased indeed to see him?

Mr. Maudling

I am always delighted to accept any invitation from the hon. Lady.