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Shipping And Fishing Industries, Scotland

Volume 649: debated on Tuesday 21 November 1961

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1.

asked the Chancellor of Exchequer if he will make a statement regarding the effect of the pay pause on the shipping, shipbuilding, and fishing industries in Scotland, in view of the unemployment caused in these industries; and what steps he proposes to take to restore their prosperity.

I do not accept the suggestion that the pause in increases of personal incomes has caused unemployment in the industries referred to. The primary purpose of the pause is to prevent increases in costs. That is vital for the future of these industries.

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that his policy has reduced Scotland's coastal shipping from 1,000 ships to 600, that the pay pause has accentuated this, that the high Bank Rate has made it worse, and that both have increased unemployment there? Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman devise some means of rectifying the situation and restoring these industries to the prosperity which they enjoyed before his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer?

The hon. and learned Gentleman will not, of course, expect me to agree with the preliminary part of his supplementary question. As far as the second part is concerned, I think it important that the pay pause policy should be successful in the interests of those industries.

Would it not be disastrous to give up the pay pause at the present time just when the country is getting a grip on its exports? If costs can be kept down in shipbuilding in Scotland it is the surest way to help exports.