§ Mr. Tom Boardman
asked the Minister of Technology what is his estimate of the maximum charge to public funds resulting from the undertakings given to Upper Clyde Shipbuilders.
§ Sir K. Joseph
asked the Minister of technology, in the light of the Government's guarantee that ships ordered from Upper Clyde Shipbuilders will be completed, what contingent plans he has to protect public funds from the consequences, in the event of the undertaking becoming insolvent, of orders already or in future undertaken at prices which in the outcome do not cover costs.
§ Mr. Benn
The maximum charge to public funds is £7 million in loans together with any payments which might have to be made in respect of ship guarantees in the event of the company's 307W insolvency. Guarantees will not be given in respect of orders already placed with the company. I shall consider in providing guarantees for new orders whether the order is likely to be profitable, and shall restrict such guarantees to orders which are likely to be completed quickly, thus limiting the public liability and emphasising the fact that the Government do not intend to provide a permanent safety net for the company.