HC Deb 17 June 1968 vol 766 cc706-7
42. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Technology what consideration the Shipbuilding Industry Board has given to the proposed informal agréement between Japanese and Western European shipbuilders for the distribution of future orders; and what advice it is giving to the British industry.

Mr. Fowler

I understand that the Shipbuilding Industry Board has neither been asked for nor has given any advice to British shipbuilders on this subject.

Mr. Digby

Would the Joint Parliamentary Secretary advise the Shipbuilding Industry Board to have nothing to do with any such proposal in view of the increased competitiveness of the British shipbuilding industry?

Mr. Fowler

I am quite sure that the British Shipbuilding Industry Board is capable of making up its own mind on such proposals. I would agree with the hon. Gentleman that the increased competitiveness of the British industry, and in particular the creation of facilities for building very large tankers which this Government have sponsored, should mean that we can compete on equal terms with the Japanese in future.