§ Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that British shipyards have recently declined foreign orders on the ground that they were too busy to undertake them; and what steps he will take to expand our shipbuilding industry with a view to obtaining more foreign currency.
§ Mr. J. P. L. Thomas
In the present circumstances, when British yards are booked with orders for a long time ahead, some yards have had to decline to quote for inquiries specifying early delivery. The expansion of the industry raises a number of important considerations, among them the shortage of labour in highly skilled trades and the future level of shipbuilding requirements. I doubt if the industry would subscribe to the view that an expansion is called for on the evidence of work secured recently by foreign yards. British yards already have a substantial amount of tonnage on order for customers overseas.