HC Deb 26 October 1960 vol 627 cc2343-4
27. Mr. Bence

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he is taking to prevent the serious decline in shipbuilding on the Clyde.

Mr. Hay

The problems facing shipbuilding on the Clyde are the same as those facing the industry as a whole, and derive from problems which are international, primarily the current depression in the shipping industry and the surplus of shipbuilding capacity throughout the world. The situation is being studied by a special sub-committee of the Shipbuilding Advisory Committee.

Mr. Bence

Is the Minister aware that, contrary to the evidence of some people and some public reports, the shipbuilding industry on the Clyde during the last two years spent hundreds of thousands of pounds and devoted considerable research towards making the shipyards on the Clyde equal to any in the world, and that Messrs. John Brown of Clydebank have laid down a new berth which can take ships of over 100,000 tons, with new engine shops and wonderful prefabrication bays, making it today the most modern shipyard in the world? Does he realise that we do not want that capacity to lie idle?

Mr. Hay

I am sure that we are all very pleased to hear that tribute to private enterprise. For our part, we are well aware that British shipbuilding is the finest in the world. The trouble is that there are not enough orders in the world, as my right hon Friend said in answer to earlier Questions this afternoon.