§ Mr. Michael Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has any proposals for changes in the level of aid offered to the shipbuilding industry.
§ Mr. Leigh
Following the decision of the European Commission, which was notified to member states on 21 January 1991, I have decided to reduce the maximum level of support for merchant ships from 20 per cent. to 13 per cent. with effect from 1 January 1991.
I have also decided that, in line with the Commission's ruling, maximum support for small ships will be reduced from the same date. Following the adoption of the seventh directive on aid to shipbuilding which amended the Community definition of small ship from one costing less than 6 million ecus to one costing less than 10 million ecus, the United Kingdom definition of a small ship has been extended to include all ships costing less than £13 million. The sliding scale used to determine the subsidy levels for small ships has been amended so that support for ships costing less than 10 million ecus will fall below the upper level of 9 per cent. set by the Commission. Shipbuilders relief of 2 per cent. is included in these figures.