§ 16. Mr. Salmond
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his current estimate of the capacity of, and employment in, the United Kingdom shipbuilding industry.
§ Mr. Salmond
Will the Minister come clean with the House and admit that the Government's policy proposals under the seventh directive will accelerate the decline in the shipbuilding industry? Can he point to even one policy measure from this Government which will arrest and reverse that decline rather than making the industry's problems worse?
§ Mr. Leigh
Contrary to what the hon. Gentleman says, it is in the interests of the United Kingdom shipbuilding industry for subsidies to be reduced. That is why we argued for a reduction in the intervention funding and why it has been agreed to reduce it from 20 per cent. to 13 per cent. for large ships and to 9 per cent. for small ships. That reduction is in the interests of the United Kingdom because we have led the way in restructuring European shipbuilding. It will be particularly helpful to warship-building yards such as Cammell Laird and Swan Hunter.