HC Deb 30 April 1958 vol 587 cc356-7
16. Mr. P. Williams

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what volume of tonnage is presently on order in United Kingdom shipyards; and, taking 1957 launchings as a comparison, how long it will take to complete the present order book.

Mr. Galbraith

At the end of March, 1958, approximately 6.2 million gross tons of new merchant shipping were on order in United Kingdom shipyards. The 1957 launchings were 1.35 million gross tons. I am not prepared to follow my hon. Friend to the inference that it will take 4½ years to complete the present order book.

Mr. Williams

I am pleased to hear my hon. Friend's answer to that Question. Does he not agree that one of the most important things in the industry is to speed up the introduction of automative devices and to induce everyone in the industry to get rid of whatever restrictive practices there are?

Mr. Galbraith

There is a lot to be said for my hon. Friend's view.

Mr. Willey

In spite of the long order books, is not the absence of orders and the increase in the number of cancellations causing some concern in the industry?

Mr. Galbraith

The order books at the moment are about the same as they have been for the last four years, and there is no need to worry at all.

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