HC Deb 03 May 1956 vol 552 cc584-5
35. Lieut.-Commander Baldock

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take action to assist shipping companies flying the British flag to compete with ships registered in countries where the incidence of taxation is relatively light.

Mr. H. Brooke

British companies are to retain the benefit of the investment allowance in respect of expenditure on new ships, and my right hon. Friend hopes that this may be of material assistance to them.

Lieut.-Commander Baldock

In view of the declining proportion of world trade carried in British ships, and the vital importance of invisible imports, would the Chancellor further consider reducing taxation on British ships to make them more competitive with others, and even consider putting a levy on ships working under certain flags of easy virtue?

Mr. Brooke

I do not think that I should venture on the ground suggested in the last part of the supplementary question, but I would emphasise that my right hon. Friend is proposing, in his Budget, to give specially favourable tax treatment to British shipping.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is the Chancellor in touch with the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation about this matter, as that right hon. Gentleman assured me that he is investigating the possibility of some assistance?

Mr. Brooke

I have answered the Question on the Order Paper and declared the present intentions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the matter.