HC Deb 31 October 1957 vol 575 cc395-6
53. Mr. P. Williams

asked the Prime Minister whether he has now received a report from Sir Matthew Slattery on the subject of making adequate provision for the future supply of oil.

The Prime Minister

It was not my intention that Sir Matthew Slattery should hold a formal inquiry and submit a report. The task which I assigned to him was the continuing function of assisting me to concert and direct the activities of various Government agencies concerned with the transport of oil from the Middle East. He has been of great assistance to all concerned in overcoming the immediate difficulties and has kept me informed of progress. He will continue to watch on my behalf the development of what is essentially a long-term problem.

Mr. P. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that most people will greatly appreciate the remarks which he made in a speech at the Chamber of Shipping annual dinner? Is he aware of the need for increasing the numbers of large tankers, large repair facilities and port facilities capable of taking these larger vessels? Further, is he aware that this can be achieved in the end only by a lowering of taxation?

The Prime Minister

There are two parts in that supplementary question and the answer to the second part is that, of course, considerable advance has been made in the matter of taxation. With regard to the other part—what further steps are to be taken—again I venture to say that this is not the day to announce any legislative or other action.