HC Deb 19 March 1923 vol 161 cc2107-8

(by Private Notice) asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that nearly 100 apprentices and ex-apprentices in His Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport, have just received their notices of discharge, to take effect in a fortnight's time; that this number, with few exceptions, includes the whole of the 1917 shipwrights; and will be explain how he reconciles these discharges with the recent statement, made on behalf of the Government, that, apart from any question of a new ship-building programme, there is plenty of work to keep the present staff fully employed for some years to come, and in view of the absence of any industry in Devonport or Plymouth, will he say in what way it is proposed to find work for these men?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Amery)

As stated by my hon. Friend, a number of shipwrights, who have recently completed their apprenticeship, are being discharged from Devon-port Dockyard. This discharge is due to the necessity for adjusting the numbers in the different trades, the number of shipwrights being at present disproportionately large. Obviously, discharges in particular trades are always liable to be necessary, even when the total dockyard numbers are not being reduced, and, moreover, I was referring to the relatively stabilised position which would be reached, at the commencement of the new financial year. I do not, therefore, regard these discharges, much as I regret the necessity for them, as in any way at variance with the assurance I was able to give, in this House the other day.


But will the right hon. Gentleman say what work he proposes to find for these men?