HC Deb 11 March 1959 vol 601 c1225
1. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for War what progress has been made with the preparation of the guided-missiles project in South Uist; the total expenditure to date; how many civilian workers are at present employed; and when the range will be fully operational for the firing of the Corporal or other missiles.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Christopher Soames)

Progress is up to schedule and the range will be fully operational early in the summer, although construction work will go on for a time after that. Expenditure on works services so far in South Uist totals £106,000. There are about 170 men employed in the island.

Mr. MacMillan

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman two questions? First, has the civilian employment now reached its peak and how many men will be retained permanently at the range? Secondly, can the right hon. Gentleman reassure the local people that this is a purely training project and that atomic or nuclear warheads will not be either stored or employed at the range?

Mr. Soames

As to the second part of the supplementary question, I can certainly give the hon. Gentleman the assurance he seeks. In reply to the first part, we are rather beyond the peak. More men were employed earlier than are being employed today. Once the constructional work ends, there will not be the same possibilities for the employment of large numbers of civilians.