HC Deb 01 November 1920 vol 134 cc49-50

(by Private Notice) asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if it is a fact that five trawlers are being taken from Portsmouth and sent to a private firm at Southampton for reconditioning, and if the cost is fixed at £8,000 per trawler, and if such a sum was arrived at by open tender or auction or by guesswork; and if he is aware that these trawlers could have been reconditioned at Portsmouth for £4,000 a piece; if he is aware that there are thousands of unemployed at Portsmouth, and if he can give any reason for the taking away from Portsmouth ship repair yards of these vessels, and if he will investigate the matter and give some assurance that no trawler, mine sweeper or other craft shall be sent out of Portsmouth to other ports until all Portsmouth ship repair yards are full up, and if he will enquire how this contract was arrived at and let the House know the result and the reason for the waste of £20,000 of the taxpayers' money, and if he will even now put the reconditioning of these vessels up to auction?


What is the urgency of this question?


I understand the urgency to be due to the fact that these trawlers are to be removed to-day or possibly to-morrow, and if the decision of the Admiralty could be reversed they would not be moved.


There is no foundation whatever for the rumour that five trawlers are being taken from Portsmouth and sent to a private firm at Southampton. The conditions respecting unemployment at Portsmouth, which affect all the Royal Dockyards, are well known, and everything possible is being done to meet the situation. Very few vessels remain to be allocated for this service, and the relative claims of the various firms and dockyards will be, as in the past, fully considered in ordering any work required.