HC Deb 04 March 1965 vol 707 cc1513-4
22. Mr. Bagier

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the concern in the shipyards on the River Wear about the difficulties being experienced in obtaining large steel plates as required; and what action he is taking to improve matters.

Mr. Mason

I have seen a report of one local difficulty in getting suitable transport but I have no evidence that there are general difficulties among shipbuilders, either on the Wear or elsewhere, in obtaining large steel plates as required.

Mr. Bagier

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, but is he aware that this complaint arose from the failure of British Railways to provide sufficient wagons to transport large steel plates? In view of the not very helpful reply of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport yesterday, will my hon. Friend take an interest in the matter? Further, would he agree that this is a very important aspect of production and efficiency in our shipyards, and will he, under his terms of reference, refer it to the inquiry he has set up into shipbuilding?

Mr. Mason

The answer to the latter part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is, "Yes". As to the first part, I hope that he will have noticed that yesterday's Lloyd's List and Shipping Gazette reported that there had been an improvement in steel supplies, particularly to the Wear. This is no doubt due to my hon. Friend's energy and activity.