§ 30. Mr. Grimond
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has for the north isles shipping services in Orkney.
§ Mr. Maclay
As the hon. Member is aware, the service has already been improved in a number of ways in fulfilment of the recommendations in the Macgillivray Report, and I am also making an offer of increased assistance towards the maintenance of the service to North Ronaldshay. Any question of further improvements is primarily a matter for the shipping companies concerned with Orkney, but, though I cannot give any definite undertaking of Government assistance at this stage, I am willing to consider any proposals that the companies may put forward for assistance towards the provision of new ships, if it is clear that they cannot be provided in any other way.
§ Mr. Grimond
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for some of that reply. May I remind him that the vital part of the Report was on the question of the replacement of ships, and that the matter is becoming very urgent? May I remind him that freights on the services have gone up, and unless the ships are repaired very soon, expenses in general will be much higher? May I urge the right hon. Gentleman to give his personal interest 180 to finding a solution in the very near future?
§ Mr. Maclay
The hon. Member will realise that I have taken a close personal interest in this matter at all stages, and I appreciate the urgency of it.