HC Deb 22 March 1976 vol 908 cc45-7W
Mr. William Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the interest charged on loans from Government sources to harbour commissioners and harbour authorities in Northern Ireland; whether the same terms are given to all such harbour authorities and commissioners; whether any harbour has a loan from a private source; if so, at what rate of interest; and what is the amount of such a loan.

Mr. Orme,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 5th March 1976; Vol. 906, c. 756], gave the following information: Normally the rate of interest charged on a Government loan for harbour purposes is the current rate payable—at the time each tranche is drawn—for borrowing from the Government Loan Fund. The rate for a new loan would be between 11½ per cent, and 13¾ per cent, depending on the term of the loan; but loans currently outstanding include some which were made when the rate was as low as 3 per cent. Special terms were provided in the case of Warrenpoint, in furtherance of the policy of attracting industry to an area of very high unemployment, where there are two loans outstanding at respectively 5 per cent, and 10 per cent. Three harbour authorities, Belfast, Londonderry and Coleraine, have borrowed from banks or issued fixed interest stocks at rates of interest varying from 9¼ per cent, to 3½ per cent. The aggregate amount outstanding in respect of such borrowings at the closing date of the most recent published accounts was £2,839,000.

Mr. Wm. Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are the total loans from Government sources to each harbour authority and harbour commission in Northern Ireland; whether the repayments are up to date in each case: what is the return on capital invested at each such harbour; what is the number employed at each such harbour; and what is the capital invested for each job.

Mr. Orme,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 5th March 1976; Vol. 906, c. 756], gave the following information.]

The total outstanding loans from Government sources to harbour authorities in Northern Ireland are as follows:

Belfast Harbour Commissioners £3,175,000
Coleraine Harbour Commisisoners £72,535
Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners £33,500
Warrenpoint Harbour Authority £1,296,866

In addition, where district councils are harbour authorities, there are sums appropriated for harbour purposes under loans pool arrangements.

Repayments are up to date except in the case of a loan to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners in respect of the Belfast Dry Dock, in relation to which the agreement includes arrangements for servicing the loan if revenue from the use of the dry dock is insufficient to do so during any financial year.

The return on capital employed, calculated in accordance with National Ports Council's recommeendation, is as follows:

Belfast—7.96 per cent.

Coleraine—not available

Londonderry—at present a loss

Warrenpoint—1.3 per cent.

The number of employees of these four harbour authorities is as follows: Belfast 509; Coleraine 7; Londonderry 73; Warrenpoint 29. These figures do not include employees of the harbour operators, who carry out all cargo handling operations at Belfast, Coleraine and Londonderry and part of those at Warrenpoint. For this reason meaningful comparisons of capital investment per job cannot be made.

None of these particulars relates to Larne Harbour which is privately owned.

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