HC Deb 25 February 1965 vol 707 cc593-4
17. Mr. McMaster

asked the President of the Board of Trade by what percentage Japanese shipbuilding yards undercut best British shipyard tenders for new orders; and what steps he intends to take to help close this gap.

Mr. Mason

There is no official information about British or foreign prices for ships. Where there are differences in price, these seem to vary greatly according to the type of ship. The Shipbuilding Inquiry Committee will consider what action might help the British shipbuilding industry to become more competitive in world markets.

Mr. McMaster

In view of the recent visit by the hon. Gentleman to Japan and the urgency of this problem, will he take immediate steps to see that such matters as costing, the level of capital investment, the credit facilities available and problems of demarcation are dealt with urgently in order that we may be fully competitive in this important field?

Mr. Mason

All these matters will be subject to inquiry by the Committee.

Captain Orr

Can the hon. Member say what has happened to the Shipbuilding Committee of Inquiry? Has it started work, and when can we expect a report?

Mr. Mason

It started work ten days ago, and I had the pleasure of addressing it just over a week ago.

Mr. Snow

Is my hon. Friend aware that the objective way in which he reported on the Japanese shipping industry and its relationship in the world situation was very much admired in many quarters?

Mr. Mason

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend.