HC Deb 21 April 1948 vol 449 c1807
42. Mrs. Middleton

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what tonnage of merchant shipping is at present under repair in His Majesty's dockyards; what further contracts for repair to merchant vessels are already in hand; and what provision is being made for merchant ship repair work in naval yards up to the end of 1948.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Walter Edwards)

There are at present three merchant vessels totalling 26,000 gross registered tons under repair in the Royal dockyards at home. No further contracts are in hand and no provision is being made for any substantial merchant ship repairs in naval yards up to the end of 1948, beyond that necessary for completing the vessels now under repair. I should add, however, that there is continually under repair a considerable tonnage of Admiralty tankers registered at Lloyds, some of which are allocated to commercial work.

Mrs. Middleton

In view of the statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 6th April, about the cost of repairing merchant vessels,' and the inability to do that work in our own yards, will my hon. Friend take steps to see that Admiralty yards are used to the full for this work during this critical time in our economic affairs?

Mr. Edwards

The Primary of the Royal Dockyards, as I have told the House Previously, is to ensure that we have a most efficient Fleet. At present, we have a large volume of Fleet repair work which is long overdue, and it is Proposed to reduce that volume during this financial year. It might interest the House to know that even if we had sufficient space in the Royal Dockyards to undertake the repair of merchant ships it would not serve much purpose, because the steel which would be used for that work would be taken away from private yards which are undertaking merchant ship repairs.