§ 70. Mr. McMaster
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has reached a decision on the future of Harland and Wolff; what steps he intends to take to secure the future viability of this shipbuilding yard and to protect monies lent by Her Majesty's Government for the purpose of extending and improving the construction facilities available on the Queen's Island in Belfast; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Ridley
The Government wish to see a viable shipbuilding industry in Belfast with an associated high level of employment and are considering how this might best be achieved. The proper protection of public loans to Harland and Wolff is being borne in mind. We hope to be in a position to make a statement in the near future.
§ Mr. Kilfedder
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what is the reason for the delay in announcing his decision about the future of Harland and Wolff Limited;
(2) how much State aid and loans from the Shipbuilding Industry Board have been given to Harland and Wolff Limited; and whether, in considering his proposals for the future of the company, in addition to the proposals from other interests, he has considered the possibility of nationalisation of the shipyard in order to safeguard the jobs of the employees.309W
(3) if he will now make a statement on the future of Harland and Wolff Limited, in view of the importance for Northern Ireland that jobs in the shipyard at Belfast should not be put in jeopardy.
§ Mr. Ridley
Harland and Wolff has received from the Shipbuilding Industry Board £8 million in loans and £6,762,578 in grants including grants in relief of loan interest under Section 5 of the Shipbuilding Industry Act.
The Government wish to see a viable shipbuilding industry in Belfast with an associated high level of employment, and are considering how this might best be achieved. Complex problems are involved which require careful study, but we hope to be in a position to make a statement in the near future.