HC Deb 18 March 1968 vol 761 cc13-4
12 Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Technology what progress has been made regarding the merger of Wear shipyards.

Mr. Benn

The Shipbuilding Industry Board has drawn the attention of the three Wear shipbuilding companies to the need to finalise their grouping proposals and to submit any application they wish to make for financial assistances.

Mr. Willey

The last time I asked this question I was assured that the Department was hopeful of a rapid solution. As things do not appear to be moving very rapidly, will my right hon Friend again consider whether it would not be advantageous for him to intervene directly to try to end this deadlock?

Mr. Benn

I understand my right hon. Friend's anxiety—which, as he knows, I share—but the object of the Shipbuilding Industry Act was to invite the Board to negotiate with the purchasers themselves. I should be very reluctant to intervene but I shall consider very carefully what my right hon. Friend has said.