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Volume 884: debated on Thursday 23 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what progress has been made in the discussions to improve the scheme to guarantee loans to United Kingdom shipowners who order ships from British shipyards.

Discussions with the clearing banks have been completed. The scheme has been modified to provide for the tapering of the agreed rate of return to the banks when the observed rate, on which this is based, is above 7½ per cent. This should provide substantial savings to public funds over the next three years. The arrears of interest which had accumulated up to October 1974 have now been paid to the banks.