HC Deb 21 July 1964 vol 699 cc262-3
12. Mr. Awbery

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the Colonies, in view of the fact that the rapid industrialisation of Malta dockyard is essential to the economic future of the island, if he is satisfied that the money originally advanced for new equipment, modern workshops, tools and large cranes for commercial shipbuilding is now sufficient to establish the industry on a competitive basis; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Fisher

The sums allocated for the physical conversion of the dockyard and for plant and equipment will be sufficient to equip the dockyard for ship repairing, in accordance with the present plan which is designed to produce a viable commercial enterprise. It has not yet been decided whether any development expenditure beyond the present plan will be desirable.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that the amount of money now being contributed to Malta is very unsatisfactory and is insufficient to develop the island economically? Is he further aware that the most important machine in the island—a 150-ton crane—has been sent from Malta to Gibraltar? This is not helping the industrial situation in Malta; it is retarding it. Will he take steps to see that the crane is returned to Malta so that it can be used for the development of ship-repairing? The ships passing by Malta are becoming much larger and a crane will be more necessary in the future than it has been in the past.

Mr. Fisher

The general grant available is in accordance with the present plans, which the hon. Member knows about. As for the crane, I shall check up and let the hon. Member know as soon as possible.

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