HC Deb 09 August 1966 vol 733 cc1372-3
16. Mr. Brooks

asked the Minister of Technology what action he intends to take to reduce the average age of machine tools used throughout British industry.

Mr. Shore

The recent census of machine tools published by Metalworking Production has been considered by the Machine Tool E.D.C., on which my Department is represented. It is up to the firms themselves to decide their replacement policy, but the new system of investment grants is designed to encourage the modernisation of plant and machinery by manufacturing industry.

Mr. Brooks

Is my hon. Friend aware of the unsatisfactory situation that has been demonstrated in many industries as a result of the recent survey? In particular, would he give thought to the possibility of improving the situation in industries such as shipbuilding, where some three-quarters of the machine tools are more than 10 years out of date?

Mr. Shore

Yes, I will certainly undertake to do that.

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

Will the hon. Gentleman use his persuasion on his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reintroduce investment allowances, as these were very much more effective in modernising industry in regard to machine tools?

Mr. Shore

That is a very different point. I happen to agree with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the investment grant is superior to the investment allowance system which it is shortly to replace.

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