HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 c913
23. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give details of the total value of credits sanctioned by the Shipbuilding Industry Board for shipowners in the period October 1970 to March, 1971.

Mr. Ridley

In the period 1st October, 1970, to 31st March, 1971, the Shipbuilding Industry Board recommended applications for guarantees involving a potential liability of £89 million.

Mr. Douglas

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that answer. Will he explain why the guarantees for shipowners with orders with U.C.S. were held up apparently solely on the basis of an informal discussion between officials in his Department and the Government's director without any documentary evidence whatsoever?

Mr. Ridley

The Shipbuilding Industry Board's director who is there to watch the interests of the Board, which has invested or loaned Government money, quite rightly drew the attention of the Government to the condition of U.C.S. finances. Therefore, the Government were bound, under the legislation, to take notice whether they should continue to issue guarantees for a company whose financial viability was in question.