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Shipping And Shipbuilding

Volume 654: debated on Tuesday 27 February 1962

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asked the Prime Minister if he will constitute a Ministry responsible for shipping and shipbuilding.

No, Sir. The Minister of Transport is already responsible for shipping and shipbuilding.

I thought that the third attempt might have been a little more lucky. Is it not the case that the Prime Minister recognised the serious state of this industry on the eve of the last election and made a certain promise? Is he aware that now we are approaching the eve of the next election and that nothing has yet materialised? Is he further aware that in the Clydeside yards the fall in shipping tonnage at the end of this year will be 100,000 gross tons unless the situation improves? On reflection, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it would be better to put these two industries under the control of one senior Minister rather than leave them in the hands of a Minister who already has sufficient to do in connection with roads and railways?

I have, of course, considered this matter. These industries originally were under the supervision of the Admiralty. If seemed to me more practical to have them under a Minister who would then be in charge of transport, and supervise transport by sea, by road and by rail. I have since arranged for an additional Parliamentary Secretary to be appointed to deal specially with shipping and shipbuilding. Again, this is a matter of organisation and I think, subject to some change of view, that this is the best organisation.

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that this Question and Questions Nos. 1 and 3 reveal the almost pathetic confidence of hon. Members opposite in Her Majesty's Ministers? Does not he think that these Questions from back bench Members opposite reveal a lack of confidence in the members of their own Front Bench?

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for an individual who represents an industry that is over-subsidised to make a statement of that nature?