HC Deb 09 November 1970 vol 806 cc22-3
23. Mr. Arthur Blenkinsop

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he proposes to take to implement the recommendations contained in the recent report on the shipbuilding and ship-repair industry.

Mr. Ridley

The Report's recommendations about the industry's structure and productivity were for action by the industry itself. Those which are for action by Government will be considered when I receive the further information from the industry suggested in the Report.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Does the hon. Gentleman not recognise the urgency of this matter? Is he not prepared to take some steps to bring the whole of it within the ambit of the Shipping Industry Board and tell us something about the future of the board?

Mr. Ridley

That matter does not arise on this Question, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we have pressed the association to clarify the points which I mentioned in my original Answer and are awaiting the reply. The ball is in their court.

Dame Irene Ward

Would it not be a good idea to arrange through the usual channels for us to have a special debate on shipbuilding and shipping interests, so that we can have all the facts put before us and find out where we are going and what the industries want?

Mr. Ridley

I would welcome such a debate and I think that the usual channels, as always, listen to my hon. Friend—if, indeed, channels do listen.

Mr. Benn

If the Government decide to give support to the ship-repairing industry, could the hon. Gentleman tell the House under what powers the help will be given?

Mr. Ridley

That is a hypothetical question to which I cannot give an answer now.