HL Deb 24 May 1971 vol 319 cc938-40WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will state what sums of money have been advanced, and are outstanding, to the shipbuilding industry; and whether any further sums have been promised under the various statutes providing for assistance from public funds.


The Shipbuilding Industry Act 1967, as amended by the Industrial Expansion Act 1968, empowered the Shipbuilding Industry Board to provide to shipbuilders and main engine manufacturers grants totalling £150,000 under Section 2 and £20 million under Section 3, and to advance loans and equity subscriptions totalling £32½ million under Sections 4 and 6. The Board were also empowered under Section 5 to pay grants in relief of interest due on loans in any period before the end of 1970.

The Board have paid £150,000 in grants under Section 2, £16.6 million in grants under Section 3 and £2.2 million in grants under Section 5. They have advanced loans totalling £15-6 million under Section 4 and have subscribed £3 million for equity under Section 6. Nearly all the loans remain outstanding. They have promised a further £2 million in grants under Section 3 and £F3 million in loans under Section 4. Section 2 of the Finance Act 1966 provides for a rebate of indirect taxation, known as " shipbuilders relief ", to shipbuilders in respect of ships delivered by them at a present rate of 2 per cent. of the contract price of a ship. Since its introduction in September, 1966, shipbuilders relief has cost £16 million and is now running at about £4-5 million per annum.

The shipbuilding industry has also benefited from assistance under various other statutes, such as the Local Employment Acts, which provide for assistance to industry in general. Besides assistance provided under statutes, the Ministry of Technology in 1970 gave additional support to shipbuilders amounting to £7 million in loans and £1.5 million in equity subscription. The Ministry of Defence have also made, or promised, loans to shipbuilders totalling £5.6 million.

House adjourned at ten minutes past midnight.