HC Deb 19 April 1961 vol 638 cc1151-2
3. Mr. P. Williams

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will now take steps to review the workings of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894.

20. Mr. Prentice

asked the Minister of Transport what progress has been made towards an agreement between his Department and both sides of the shipping industry on the desirability of amending the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894.

Mr. Ernest Marples

Representatives of both sides of the shipping industry are considering this subject and I am awaiting their recommendations.

Mr. Williams

While recognising that it would be dangerous to press too quickly in this matter, which is for negotiation between the two sides, would not my right hon. Friend agree that the discussions appear to be hanging fire a little at the moment? Will his Ministry try to urge matters on to a conclusion?

Mr. Marples

Both sides of industry are on the National Maritime Board and, so far as I can gather from both sides, they are satisfied with the rate of progress. I think it is very difficult for a Minister to say, if both sides of industry are in negotiations, that they are not negotiating quickly enough, and I would rather leave it to them to decide what measures they would like to be adopted before my Ministry looks into the matter.

Mr. Shinwell

While it is necessary to consult both sides of industry on a complicated matter of this sort, would it not be desirable after the consultations have been concluded that the Minister should issue a White Paper so that hon. Members could express their views before the introduction of legislation?

Mr. Marples

I should like to consider that. I will say that when both sides of industry have decided what they would like, it is very necessary that the Minister should look at it from the point of view of the safety considerations.

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