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Shipbuilding (Orders)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 11 May 1954

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87.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that only 468,000 gross tons of new shipping were ordered in this country for the 12 months ended 31st March as against over 3,000,000 tons gross in 1952; and what steps are being taken to prevent a further deterioration in this industry.

I am aware of the fall in the tonnage of shipping ordered in the year ended 31st March, 1954. The hon. Member's figure of 3 million gross

ESTIMATED VALUE OF THE AGRICULTURAL OUTPUT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AT PRICES CURRENT IN EACH YEAR
£ million
YearReceipts from SalesChange in valuation of work in progressGross OutputPurchase of Feedingstuffs, Livestock, Seeds, etc.Net Output
Pre-war average (1936–39)291·8− 0·2291·690·2201·4
1939–40349·0+9·7358·793·0265·7
1940–41453·8−0·6453·285·9367·3
1941–42492·8+7·7500·570·1430·4
1942–43556·4+6·4562·864·4498·4
1943–44589·1+9·8598·967·0531·9
1944–45580·0+2·0582·068·7513·3
1945–46618·9+5·0623·980·3543·6
1946–47640·8−25·2615·672·0543·6
1947–48686·4+31·3717·782·2635·5
1948–49818·0+15·7833·7103·2730·5
1949–50897·2+9·0906·2149·5756·7
1950–51951·6−16·7934·9185·3749·6
1951–521,074·5+14·71,089·2224·5864·7
1952–53 (a)1,149·0+7·11,156·1240·0916·1
1953–54 (b)1,224·8+13·91,238·7302·0936·7
(a) Provisional (b) Forecast.
NOTE:The gross output of agriculture is normally defined as the sum of receipts from sales and the change (plus or minus) in the valuation of work in progress since the latter is a part of agricultural production even though sale occurs at a later date.

tons of new shipping ordered in 1952 is more than double the amount actually ordered in that year, although I accept it as a correct figure for the year ended 31st March, 1952.

Owing to the unprecedented amount of new tonnage ordered in 1951 and the early months of 1952, the shipbuilding industry has had an exceptionally long order book and it still has on order over 5 million gross tons of shipping representing more than two years' work.

It is too early yet to judge to what extent the benefits of the new investment allowance, proposed in his Budget by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will affect shipbuilding orders, but the situation will continue to be given close attention.