HC Deb 14 April 1983 vol 40 c933
22. Rev. Martin Smyth

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what level of financial support has been given by Her Majesty's Government to Harland and Wolff in each of the past three years.

Mr. Adam Butler

In the financial years ending 31 March 1981, 1982 and 1983 Government expenditure on Harland and Wolff amounted to £48.9 million, £52.7 million and £57.1 million respectively. Those amounts represent assistance from all Government sources and include payments made under the shipbuilding redundancy payments scheme.

Mr. Smyth

I thank the Minister for that answer. Is he aware of the growing concern about the decline of the British merchant fleet, and will he use his influence with his colleagues to change that pattern and encourage British shipowners to purchase ships from, and carry out repair work in, British shipyards, including Harland and Wolff?

Mr. Butler

I share the hon. Gentleman's feelings on this matter. I should like to see British shipowners placing more orders in British yards, but they have to compete in their trade in the same way as the shipowners have to in theirs.