HC Deb 08 February 1971 vol 811 cc26-7
38. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the future of the Government's holding in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders.

Mr. John Davies

I am not yet in a position to make a statement, but will do so as soon as possible.

Mr. Douglas

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply. Will the Secretary of State expedite the making of a statement on the Government's holding in U.C.S., because this vital industry to the West of Scotland requires reassurance in order to calm the fears which many people might have about further redundances in an area of already high unemployment?

Mr. Davies

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will need to wait very little for this statement.

Mr. Benn

Has the right hon. Gentleman had any recommendation for support from the Shipbuilding Industry Board, and can we expect a statement this week?

Mr. Davies

I am not certain whether the right hon. Gentleman is referring to the broad issue arising from engaging the Shipbuilding Industry Board or the particular issue arising from the Question. On the particular issue arising from the Question, close consultation has taken place with the Board.

Mr. Rankin

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in his hands at present lies the future safety of 8,000 employees of U.C.S.? Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that those jobs and their future are in safe keeping?

Mr. Davies

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be prepared to await my statement. I can very clearly assure the hon. Gentleman that the difficult problem involved in this situation are very much alive in my mind.