HC Deb 14 October 1968 vol 770 cc16-7
25. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will make a further statement on the future of the Furness shipyard.

Mr. Benn

As the House will know, this yard will be taken over by Swan Hunter & Tyne Shipbuilders Limited, and incorporated in that group at the end of the year. The Shipbuilding Industry Board, with my approval, agreed to make available grants of £1 million to Swan Hunter & Tyne Shipbuilders Limited to make this possible.

Mr. Willey

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is very welcome news for the North-East? I congratulate him for his part in effecting a settlement. Can he say what amount of employment is likely to be provided by the yard?

Mr. Benn

I am grateful for what my right hon. Friend has said. There is little doubt that there will be some temporary rundown in employment because the existing ships are nearing completion and the steel cannot be brought in for the new orders under a matter of weeks. But Sir John Hunter, speaking on Friday in the yard, said that he expected that it would fill up again and that employment would be what it had been before and might later rise beyond that.