HC Deb 16 February 1927 vol 202 cc912-4

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many men have been discharged from each of His Majesty's dockyards or establishments since January, 1926; how many men are under notice discharge in each place; whether it is contemplated making further discharges in the coming financial year; and, if so, whether the Admiralty has any idea of the number to be discharged?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

As the reply contains a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman give the -answer to the last part of the question, which does not involve any figures?

Lieut.-Colonel HEPLDLAM

I think I should prefer to leave it all to be circulated in the OFFICIAL, REPORT, if the hon. Member does not mind.

The reply is as follows:

The numbers or workpeople discharged from the Vote 8 Departments of the several Dockyards since 31st January, 1926, are:

Portsmouth 387
Devonport 289
Chatham 243
Sheerness 35
Rosyth 700
Pembroke Dock 444

The numbers under notice of discharge in the same Departments of the Dockyard are:

Portsmouth 7
Devonport 1
Rosyth 2

The further discharges contemplated, to be made between 26th March and 14th April next, are:

From Portsmouth 600
From Devonport 600
From Chatham 700
From Sheerness 100


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will consider permitting established men in His Majesty's dockyards to take a modified pension at the age of 55 and upwards should they so desire, and relieve the present congestion in the yards and the necessity of wholesale discharges?


I regret that the suggestion that established men in His Majesty's dockyards should be given the, option of retiring prematurely with modified pensions cannot be entertained.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is already very considerable distress in His Majesty's dockyards; that in these dockyard areas there is practically no other work outside the dockyards, and that, therefore, a large number of men arc going to be thrown on the insurance?


I hope they will be able to find employment elsewhere. I regret very much that, owing to the necessity for economy, these discharges have to be made. Nobody regrets it more than I do, but I am glad to think that, owing to better prospects of trade at the present moment, there is more chance of employment in other yards than there was.


In making these discharges, will consideration be given to the retention of those men who are house owners at Sheerness and other dockyard towns, and who, therefore, will find great difficulty in being able to get away to other employ-merit?


I think that is already done, but if not, I certainly will take notice of what my hon. and gallant Friend has said, and remind the authorities of that point.


Is it not a fact that exactly the procedure suggested in this question was followed when there were discharges from the Royal Navy, and that officers were allowed to take their pensions before they were due? Would it not be economy to adopt the same procedure here?


The hon. Member is confusing the question between hired men and established men. If the hired men aye discharged, established men remain. Therefore, the only point of the question is to enable established men to go and hired men to stay.

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