HC Deb 08 April 1968 vol 762 cc883-4
52. Mr. Leadbitter

asked the Minister of Technology what discussions he has had on the proposed closure of the Furness shipyard; and if he will make a statement.

Dr. Bray

My right hon. Friend had discussions with the yard's owners, the national and local leaders of the unions, the Shipbuilding Industry Board and other shipbuilding organisations. As a result, he decided to arrange for a rapid economic appraisal to be made to see whether any way could be found to put the yard on a long-term viable basis.

Mr. Leadbitter

Is my hon. Friend aware that I, as a Member in that area, am particularly grateful for his personal assistance in this matter, but nevertheless there is a shortage of time? Is he aware that in this yard, which is the most modern in Europe, the rundown in manpower is at such a rate that if the decision is not made to keep it open, time will run out for us?

Dr. Bray

The working party which has been set up to examine this question has been working urgently and we look forward to receiving its report soon.