HC Deb 01 February 1961 vol 633 c986
34. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Transport what action he has taken regarding credit finance for shipbuilding orders.

Mr. Marples

The President of the Board of Trade announced in October that the Export Credits Guarantee Department will offer guarantees to shipbuilders at cheaper rates. This, with the further export credit measures applying to all industries he also announced in October, will, I hope, be of some help to our shipbuilders in securing foreign orders. I am also considering representations the Shipbuilding Conference has made to me about other aspects of the problem of credit.

Mr. Willey

Can the Minister confirm or deny that he appointed an eminent accountant to advise him on this matter? If he has not, will he take such a course? He will realise that this is regarded by the shipbuilding companies as probably one of the more important matters affecting orders.

Mr. Marples

They have made strong representations to me and I assure the hon. Gentleman that they will be thoroughly gone into.

Mr. McMaster

Does my right hon. Friend agree that all proper steps should be taken to ensure that British shipbuilding yards do not suffer any disadvantage as compared with European or Far Eastern yards?

Mr. Marples

Yes. They should compete on equal terms.