Mr. Edward M. Taylor
asked the Minister of Technology what recent information he has regarding the extent to which foreign shipyards, particularly those in France, Germany, Japan, Sweden and Holland, receive direct or indirect subsidies; and what estimate he has made of the extent to which these subsidies compare with the assistance which will be provided to British shipyards under the Shipbuilding Industry Act.
§ Mr. Benn
Apart from Government credit subsidies introduced in Holland to assist the reorganisation of the industry we have not been able to identify any significant change in the Government assistance for shipbuilding overseas 289W described in the Report issued in 1965 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Direct production subsidies continue to be given in France as well as a number of other countries such as the U.S.A. and Italy. It is not easy to assess the importance of other Government assistance to shipbuilding in overseas countries, or to compare it with that given in the United Kingdom under the Shipbuilding Industry Act or otherwise, largely because it may be linked with assistance to shipping, general economic measures or a temporary programme of industrial reorganisation.