HC Deb 09 September 1942 vol 383 cc139-40
34. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what steps have been taken to reopen the shipyards declared redundant by the Naval Shipbuilders Security Federation some years ago and which are now necessary to the war effort?

Mr. Alexander

Of the yards closed by National Shipbuilders Security, Ltd., 11 are in use for building or repairing various types of craft, including vessels of over 10,000 tons deadweight. In addition, 12 yards which were closed between the two wars, but with which National Shipbuilders Security, Ltd., was not concerned, are also engaged on building and repair work. The policy of the Admiralty is to re-open suitable yards when there is labour to man them. In pursuance of this policy one further yard is now in process of being recommissioned and the re-opening of another is under consideration.

Sir T. Moore

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply, may I ask whether any steps have been taken to make a national review of shipyard workers now engaged in other industries, so as to bring them back to the shipyards, as we know that, on the Clyde and on the Tyne, yards of great potential value are still closed?

Mr. Alexander

Yes, Sir. In the course of the last 18 months thousands of men have been transferred back from other industries, and a further batch is now being examined. Some are in course of transfer.

Mr. McKinlay

Is not the Minister aware that in the bulk of the reopened yards in Scotland, the work being done could be done in a backyard? Is he not further aware that one of the old shipyards on the River Clyde is not reopened, because Shipbuilding Securities, Ltd., has stripped them of plant?

Mr. Alexander

I do not think it is practicable to discuss the question of Shipbuilding Securities, Ltd., during Question time, but I am willing to debate it at a time which would suit the House. As to craft being built in a backyard, there is a good deal of misunderstanding. You cannot say that tank-landing craft are capable of being built in a backyard.