HC Deb 07 July 1953 vol 517 cc83-4W
68. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of Transport if his attention has been called to the cancellation of contracts for shipbuilding; if he is aware that this is due to rising costs and that British shipowners cannot compete successfully in the world's freight markets because of the many restrictions and heavy taxation imposed by Government control; what action he proposes to take; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I know that certain shipowners have pointed to the high cost of new tonnage as a reason for the cancellation of shipbuilding contracts.

The only important Government restrictions on British shipping are on the transfer of ships from the British register and on the carriage of strategic materials to China and North Korea, which are both essential in present world conditions. I have no evidence that either these controls or the weight of taxation are preventing British ships from competing successfully in the world's freight market. As regards shipbuilding costs I would refer my hon. Friend to what was said on the Adjournment on 26th June by my hon. Friend the Civil Lord of the Admiralty.