HC Deb 23 March 1960 vol 620 cc494-5
28. Mr. Bence

asked the Minister of Transport if he is now in a position to make a statement on the investigation by the Chandos Committee of the desirability of the State financing the replacement of the present Cunarders ss. "Queen Mary" and ss. "Queen Elizabeth".

Mr. Marples

The Committee's Report has not yet been received, but I understand that it expects to complete it within the next few weeks.

Mr. Bence

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable anxiety in the Clyde Valley? Is he aware that the Scottish shipbuilding industry is concerned about the possibility, or the probability, of the replacement of these two Cunarders, and we feel very strongly that with the Cunard takeover of Eagle Air Transport, British shipbuilding may be sacrificed to the competition of subsidised aircraft construction in England at the expense of the shipbuilding industry in Scotland?

Mr. Marples

I must wait for the Report. I am told that so far it has not been completed, that the members of the Committee have made up their minds but that they have not completed the Report. I have not received it, but it has been printed in great detail in two national newspapers.

Mr. Holt

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if he eventually makes a decision in favour of subsidising these liners, this will not make the present Government policy any more sensible— in subsidising the aircraft industry to compete with subsidised shipping?

Mr. Marples

That is not a question for me. I must first of all wait for the Report and study it.

Dame Irene Ward

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there is also a shipbuilding industry in England? Will he bear in mind also that there is a feeling among shipbuilders and shipping interests that there is a little too much money being spent on research in the air to the detriment of research into shipbuilding and shipping problems?

Mr. Marples

I will bear those facts in mind, as well as the fact that there are many parts of the United Kingdom where people wish to build these ships if the ships are to be built.

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