HC Deb 28 October 1953 vol 518 cc2770-2
4. Mr. Bence

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many hospital beds can be accommodated in the royal yacht "Britannia"; and what is the estimated cost of supplying and equipping these beds and ancillary medical services.

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

Two hundred, and approximately £12,000.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Will this ship be ready in time to take the Prime Minister to see Mr. Malenkov?

Mr. Bence

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that it would be more desirable to proceed with this conversion in order that the large number of men, women and children suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis could be provided with urgent hospital treatment?

Mr. Thomas

That is a very different question. I think it is the wish of the country that matters relating to the royal yachts should proceed as they are proceeding now.

5. Mr. Bence

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty for what reason the royal yacht "Britannia" is to be taken to Portsmouth and then returned to the Clyde for completion and trials.

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

It is not, and never has been, intended that Her Majesty's yacht "Britannia" shall return to the Clyde after she has left Portsmouth.

Mr. Bence

Thank you.

6. Mr. Bence

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what modifications have been carried out recently in the royal yacht "Britannia"; what is the estimated increased cost; and on whose authority such modifications were carried out.

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

As is normal during the construction of any ship, a few modifications in the internal arrangements have been made in Her Majesty's Yacht "Britannia." These changes are all small, and, though no detailed estimates of the cost are available, the expenditure entailed does not significantly affect the cost of the ship. These modifications were authorised by the Admiralty, though there may have been a few quite infinitesimal changes approved by the Admiralty overseer within the scope of his delegated authority.

Mr. Bence

Is the Minister aware that the modifications included the stripping off of very expensive material because the colour was not suitable to the overseer, and that this led to considerable expense, considerable use of manpower and considerable waste of material?

Mr. Thomas

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that there was no additional expense incurred at all. The material which was not fixed or welded is now being used for other purposes.

12. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many barges are being supplied for the royal yacht "Britannia"; and at what cost.

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

Three, one of which is the barge from the royal yacht "Victoria and Albert." The total estimated cost, including the cost of repairs to the existing barge, is £27,500.

Mr. Hughes

Is this in addition to the £1,800,000 that has already been spent on the yacht?

Mr. Thomas

I think this probably comes within the main figure spent on the royal yacht.

Commander Maitland

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that he will spare no pains to meet the wishes of the whole country to make this ship absolutely suitable for the purpose for which we desire it?

Mr. Thomas

I am sure that the views expressed by my hon. and gallant Friend are shared by the House and the country as a whole.

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