HC Deb 19 July 1955 vol 544 cc189-90
17. Mr. Collick

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he gave permission for the use of foreign currency by the Shaw Savill Shipping Company to enable it to place orders for three new vessels with German shipbuilders.

Mr. R. A. Butler

No specific permission was necessary. For nearly four years United Kingdom ship owners have been free to place orders for ships in European yards.

Mr. Collick

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the serious concern felt among our own shipbuilding workers at the action of this company? Are the Government completely helpless, in view of the balance of payments problem, in handling a situation of this kind?

Mr. Butler

The Government are aware of the severe anxiety being felt. We are also aware of the possibility of retaliation in going back upon the policy which was, in fact, adopted in August, 1951, before this Government came into power. We have seen no reason to alter the general lines of this policy. Fortunately, incidents of this sort are not numerous.