HC Deb 19 November 1908 vol 196 cc1391-2
MR. CURRAN (Durham, Jarrow)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that at the Admiralty works in connection with the National Harbour of Refuge, Peterhead, several batches of workmen have been dismissed; whether he will state the reason for these dismissals; and whether he will have the discharged workmen reinstated and also have as many men employed on the works as possible in view of the present state of unemployment.


It is the invariable custom at Peterhead Harbour Works to discharge workmen when the weather conditions prevent certain work being continued. I am glad to say, however, that the discharges this year have been fewer than usual. The work is intended chiefly to be carried out by convict labour. It is not feasible to employ more free labour at this time of year.


Why is convict labour used at this time of unemployment to the disadvadvantage of the honest industrial artisan?


Convict labour is employed because it is very desirable to give the convicts something to do.