§ 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 1373 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the situation in industries such as shipbuilding, where some three-quarters of the machine tools are more than 10 years out of date?
§ 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?