HC Deb 05 February 1968 vol 758 cc28-9
48. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will make a further statement on the merger prospects for Wear shipyards.

Mr. Benn

I understand that the three companies concerned are pressing on with their joint examination of a merger and hope to be able to submit proposals to the Shipbuilding Industry Board shortly.

Mr. Willey

Will my right hon. Friend continue to do his best to press ahead with these negotiations now that we are prejudiced, as, I am sure, he recognises, by the very good progress which is being made in other shipbuilding districts? I appreciate that there are particular difficulties, but we really have to solve them.

Mr. Benn

I share my right hon. Friend's feeling of disappointment. The consultant's report was available five months ago, but it is a matter for negotiations between the yards concerned, the Shipbuilding Industry Board, and my own Department, and we will do anything we can to help.