§ Mr. Clay
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what record was kept by an official of his Department of the information given to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North on 6 December 1988 by the chairman of British Shipbuilders concerning the financial support available from the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trades Union for the north-south bridge consortium which was bidding to acquire North East Shipbuilders Limited; and what steps have subsequently been taken to check the accuracy of this information.633W
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
[holding answer 27 February 1990]: The view taken by British Shipbuilders and its financial advisers was that the proposal received from the north-south bridge consortium did not provide the basis for a viable future for merchant shipbuilding in the Sunderland yards. This was irrespective of whether the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trades Union had been able to confirm an oral indication of £10 million towards the consortium's capital provision. The Department's financial advisers agreed with this assessment. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster took account of all relevant considerations in reaching the decisions announced on 7 December 1988. The Department's records refer to sources of finance available to the consortium. Given the view taken of the proposal as a whole, there was no point in inviting financial advisers to investigate the GMBATU indication.