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Shipbuilding (Steel Allocation)

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1952

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38.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty on what grounds the allocation of steel for shipbuilding has been reduced.

At the present time steel is scarcer than it was in the first quarter of 1950, the last full quarter for which allocations were previously made, but it is hoped that this shortage will be only temporary.

While I am very much enheartened to hear what the right hon. Gentleman has said, does he realise that the shipbuilders are facing a very serious problem in trying to complete a four-year programme of orders in three years in order to enable them to hold their own in world markets, and that this is a very serious matter which merits his very careful consideration?

I can assure the hon. Member that the Admiralty, and, indeed, the Government as a whole, know how serious the matter is. I have seen a deputation from the shipbuilders and all branches of the shipbuilding industry, and I am fully aware what their difficulties are. I hope we shall be able to give them a more encouraging answer very soon.