§ 11. Mr. HOUSTON
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he was aware that, owing to the large number of vessels sent to Liverpool by the Admiralty to be repaired and reconditioned, the Merseyside ship-repairing firms had greatly increased their premises and plants and had brought many skilled mechanics into Liverpool from other districts, and that, owing to the decision of the Admiralty not to send further vessels to Liverpool to be repaired and reconditioned, there were grave fears of unemployment of skilled workmen in Liverpool; and whether the Admiralty could reconsider that decision and continue to send vessels to the Mersey for repair and reconditioning, but placing the vessels in the Birkenhead docks or great float, where they would not congest or interfere with the working of the Liverpool docks for commercial purposes and would at the same time provide work for Liverpool and Birkenhead mechanics?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I have no reason to doubt the statement that the Mersey ship-repairing firms have increased their premises and plants, and, in consequence, have probably brought skilled mechanics into Liverpool and its surrounding district. The decision of the Admiralty that no further fishing vessels should be sent to Liverpool was taken in September last, and at an earlier date it had been decided that no other description of work would be sent there if it could be dealt with in the dockyards. I need not remind my hon. Friend that the Admiralty are faced, and have been faced, with the question of unemployment and consequent discharges from the Royal dockyards for several months past. He is aware that we have endeavoured to stem the tide of such discharges by allotting to the Royal dockyards any repair and reconditioning work which was available and which could be dealt with appropriately in the dockyards. For these reasons I am sure my hon. Friend will not press me to reconsider the decision of the Admiralty not to send further vessels to the Mersey for repair and reconditioning.
§ Mr. HOUSTON
May I hope to have an opportunity of discussing the matter with the Admiral in charge?