§ 97. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware of the paucity of foreign orders for future execution by British shipyards; and if he will state the principle on which he is now acting in granting or refusing licences for the execution of foreign orders offered by eastern countries to British shipyards.
§ Mr. Digby
British shipyards have on order for overseas owners (excluding Commonwealth and Colonial owners) about one and a quarter million gross tons of merchant shipping, which is about 29 per cent. of their total order book. Whilst this figure is, I think, considerable, the rate of new ordering by overseas owners has been disappointing recently. The export of ships to China is prohibited, but, apart from warships and those merchant ships which are of particular strategic value, the export of ships to eastern Europe is not prohibited.