HC Deb 01 February 1961 vol 633 c960
48. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Transport what number of vessels registered in the United Kingdom is idle; and when he intends to meet the representatives of the Chamber of Shipping to consider what measures are required to bring these vessels into service.

Mr. Marples

On 1st January, sixty-seven such vessels, totalling 503,500 gross tons, were laid up for lack of employment. The employment of shipping is a matter for the shipping industry. The General Council of British Shipping in its recent Report suggests how the Government might help the industry and I hope soon to discuss that Report with the Council.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that he has sufficient time to give satisfactory attention to the present state of the shipping industry and its future? Is he not overburdened with the railways and roads and a variety of cognate subjects? Would he not advise the Prime Minister—and I say this with the greatest respect to himself—that he might appoint somebody to take charge of shipping?

Mr. Marples

No, Sir. I do not think that there has been undue waste of time. We have only just received the Report of the General Council of British Shipping and I am seeing the Council a week today.

Mr. Peyton

Would my right hon. Friend consider at this juncture, when there is a new Administration in the United States, making some approach so that there might be new international discussions about these difficult problems, because only in that way shall we get anywhere?

Mr. Marples

I answered a supplementary question earlier on that point, and if I thought that any good would be done by it I would get in touch with them straight away.

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