HC Deb 22 November 1967 vol 754 cc1283-4
3. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the President of the Board of Trade what study he has made of the problems of the North Atlantic passenger liner trade with a view to retaining a reasonable proportion of it for Great Britain.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

This is primarily a commercial matter, but the hon. Member will be aware that the Government are increasing the size of the loan which they will be making to Cunard.

Mr. Digby

Is it not a fact that, despite the increase in air travel, the number of passengers travelling by sea is approximately the same as it was in 1950? Is it not therefore important, both from the the point of the prestige of our Merchant Navy and from the point of view of our own currency, that we should try to retain our position in this respect?

Mr. Mallalieu

I cannot question the figures for 1950, but from 1955 to the present day the number of passengers travelling by sea has fallen sharply. I agree with the hon. Member that it is important to do what we can in this respect.