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Harland And Wolff

Volume 984: debated on Thursday 8 May 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the employment figures for Harlaand and Wolff shipyard at 1 April 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980; and if he will, in each case, give the subsequent figure as a percentage increase or decrease from 1960.

Employment figures are available only for December of each year. Those below represent the total wirk force for Harland and Wolff including workers engaged in non-shipbuilding activities:on refit work on one of these vessels as a result of successful tendering. I can hold out no real prospect of the company's receiving contracts for warship building. The Government's policy is normally to place warship-building contracts with a very small number of specialist yards, and a number of " mixed " yards which have an up-to-date capability for warship building I foresee no change in this policy. The possible order for a bulk carrier for the British Steel Corporation is the subject of commercially confidential discussions involving the British Steel Corporation, Harland and Wolff and the Government. It would be inappropriate for me to say more at this stage.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give me the names of any shipowners who have indicated to him, or to Harland and Wolff, that late delivery was the reason for shipbuilding orders not being placed with the firm.

It would not be appropriate to quote individual persons or companies, but the hon. Member will appreciate that in a competitive industry a company's reputation in respect of meeting delivery dates is a very important consideration in the placing of orders.