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German Shipbuilders (Steel Rebates)

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1954

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has completed his inquiries about the proposed financial aid to German shipbuilders; and if he will make a further statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) and the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Blenkinsop) on 24th June.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that reply has failed to allay the very deep anxiety of our shipbuilding industry? Is he satisfied that we are taking sufficiently energetic action to prevent this blatant evasion of the spirit of the Anglo-German agreement?

We have taken a lot of action in so far as we can operate within the field controlled by Governments. I am certainly trying to find out what further opportunities there are in this field, but I cannot interfere in a field outside the field of Government.

Is not this practice of the German steel industry in conflict with the rules of the Coal and Steel Community? Will the Chancellor consider instructing our delegation at Luxembourg to make representations on this point?

This point was raised when the Economic Secretary answered Questions, and he very wisely said that it was a very complicated subject. I am investigating it, and if I see a line of action I will certainly take it.