HC Deb 18 March 1968 vol 761 cc29-30
49. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Minister of Technology how much public money has now been loaned to, invested in, or guaranteed to the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company; what return it is earning; and when it will be repaid.

Mr. Benn

£940,000 in Fairfields (Glasgow) Limited Loan Stock at 7 per cent repayable on 31st December, 1975.

Sir C. Osborne

Is the experiment now earning a profit? Is the money to be repaid, or will it be lost? If the experiment is successful, will the Minister pass on the idea to other Government Departments which are making losses?

Mr. Benn

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is aware that the Fairfield Shipbuilding Co. has joined the Upper Clyde Shipbuilding Group and is, therefore, part of a new business, and that the operating experience of the yard will be available to others in the small group.

Mr. Rankin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a few weeks ago the Fairfield Shipbuilding Co. declared a profit of £300,000 for 1967? Is he further aware that if the U.C.S. follows the Fairfield method it, too, will show profits?

Mr. Benn

There is no doubt whatsoever that the work done at the Fairfield yard under the arrangements introduced by the Government permitted a yard which would otherwise have died to restore the morale of the workers and introduce new methods. This experience is now available in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilding Group.