HC Deb 28 October 1953 vol 518 cc2769-70
9. Mr. Bottomley

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is satisfied that new orders are coming into British shipyards at a rate necessary to replace deliveries.

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

In the first nine months of this year, licences were issued for the construction of 103 new merchant ships totalling 323,000 gross tons. During the same period, 165 new merchant ships with a total tonnage of 857,000 gross tons were delivered. The shipbuilding industry's current order book of 5.8 million gross tons represents more than four times the current annual rate of shipyard output.

Mr. Bottomley

Can the First Lord give me an assurance that there will be no transference of work from the Royal Naval Dockyard, Chatham, to private shipyards?

Mr. Thomas

I am sure that our naval dockyard, Chatham, will be filled to capacity. If we cannot take on all the work that there is to do, some will have to go elsewhere, but we shall certainly consider the needs of our dockyards first.

Mr. Ross

Can the Minister give us an indication as to the number of orders that have been cancelled in the meantime?

Mr. Thomas

Not without notice, I am afraid.

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