HC Deb 25 January 1972 vol 829 cc399-400W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) why Her Majesty's Government have agreed in principle to the directive of the European Economic Community on export credits to the shipbuilding industry being limited, to ensure that interest rates should not be below 7½ per cent. with a minimum down payment of 20 per cent. and a maximum duration of eight years, and that other aids should be on a sliding scale with a maximum of 5 per cent. of the selling price in 1972, 4 per cent. in 1973 and 3 per cent. in 1974; and how he estimates this will affect the British shipbuilding industry;

(2) whether he will give details of the directive of the European Economic Community for the lowering of State aids to the shipbuilding industry, the setting of a ceiling on the level of export credit aids; why Her Majesty's Government when consulted on this, gave their agreement in principle to this directive being applied in Great Britain before Parliament has seen or debated it; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Ridley

The agreement on the terms of export credits for shipowners ordering in this country was negotiated in O.E.C.D., not E.E.C., and successive Governments have adhered to it. Separately, the E.E.C. Commission has proposed a new draft directive on shipbuilding aids, which incorporates the O.E.C.D. terms on export credits. The directive has not yet been adopted and we are being consulted about it.

machinery was £45 million, £25 million and £4 million, respectively.