§ Mr. Keenan
asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a further statement as to his present policy in regard to the repair of British ships in foreign ports.
§ Mr. Barnes
In view of the increasing world-wide com- petition in shipping and the important contribution made by our shipping to our balance of payments, I have decided that in future shipowners shall be free to have major repairs carried out in soft currency countries without seeking my prior approval. Because of the continued shortage of certain currencies major repairs in hard 367W currency areas, including at present countries such as Belgium and Western Germany, must continue to be subject to my prior approval and this would be given only in the most exceptional circumstances.