HC Deb 26 February 1958 vol 583 cc360-2
28. Mr. Bottomley

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what compensation is to be paid to Royal Dockyard employees who become redundant under the Government's economy cuts.

29. Mr. P. Wells

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what compensation will be paid to employees who become redundant because of the Government's decision to close Her Majesty's Dockyard, Sheerness.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith)

Employees who become redundant will be given pensions or gratuities on the scales which are laid down under the Superannuation Acts. As these scales cannot be briefly summarised, I will send particulars to the hon. Members.

Mr. Bottomley

Although the Civil Lord is aware that it is established practice to pay compensation at these levels, may I ask him whether, in view of the quite rightly generous treatment given to serving officers and men, he could give further consideration to the question of making higher awards? In cases where established men seek employment elsewhere because the rates they are offered are lower, will they also receive similar compensation?

Mr. Galbraith

I do not think it is helpful to compare civilians and Service personnel, because Service personnel are having to start out in a quite new form of occupation.

Mr. Wells

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the payments to which he has referred were never intended to cover a case such as the complete closure of a dockyard like the one at Sheerness? Will he consider giving no less generous treatment to these men than to those discharged from the Services?

Mr. Galbraith

I think that any amendment of the Superannuation Act is really a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Bottomley

Will the hon. Gentleman answer the second part of my supplementary question? If there are established men who may be redundant because the alternative jobs offered may be below the rate paid for existing employment, will they be given similar compensation?

Mr. Galbraith

I should like to look into that, but I think the probable answer is "No."

Mr. Shinwell

When men are being displaced as a direct result of Government policy, surely there is a case for, at any rate, some increase in the compensation allowed? Will the hon. Gentleman approach his superiors around and near him in order to secure some consideration of a proposition of that kind?

Mr. Galbraith

This problem is not, as the right hon. Gentleman suggests, a new one. It applies to Ordnance factories the same as to dockyards. As I replied to the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. P. Wells), this is a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.