HC Deb 13 July 1970 vol 803 cc1131-2
30. Mr. Heffer

asked the Minister of Technology what action he intends to take to ensure future employment in the shipbuilding industry on Merseyside; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ridley

Future employment in shipbuilding on Merseyside depends on the maintenance there of a viable and competitive industry. This will depend on the efforts of all those employed there in shipbuilding.

Mr. Heffer

In view of the fact that a viable and competitive industry was not forthcoming previously when we had to assist Cammell Laird, can we have a firm assurance that the arrangements of the previous Administration for Cammell Laird will be completely honoured by the hon. Gentleman's Government?

Mr. Ridley

The arrangements are already in force, so the answer is "Yes".

Mr. Tilney

In order to keep the expertise of the nuclear power team in Cammell Laird, would my hon. Friend consider helping to finance a prototype nuclear-powered merchant ship at some time?

Mr. Ridley

As I said last week, we are considering the report which we have received on this subject, and we are not yet ready to make any statement.

Mr. Dell

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, during the election campaign, specific pledges were made to Cammell Laird workers and were stated to have been made on behalf of the then Shadow Cabinet? Is the hon. Gentleman aware what those pledges were, and does he intend to implement them?

Mr. Ridley

I am not aware what those pledges were. We have had no request for assistance from this company, and we have honoured the commitments entered into by the last Government.