HC Deb 25 November 1959 vol 614 cc357-8
32. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether he will accelerate the naval building programme to assist in maintaining work in the shipyards.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has already stated that he intends to study in detail the problems of the shipbuilding industry. In so far as these could be relieved by an acceleration of naval building, such a measure will naturally come under careful review.

Dame Irene Ward

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that shipyard workers and shipbuilders do not want to lose the skills that they lost in the 1930's when naval shipbuilding was brought to an end? Will my hon. Friend let me know when he would like me to accompany him to the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

All I would say is that 90 per cent. of naval ships are built in commercial yards and that is a very considerable proportion of the load which they are carrying.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Will my hon. Friend undertake to increase the publicity which already exists for the naval building programme? Is he aware that the United States Navy has not the slightest compunction in advertising to the world its naval building programme and the tour of duty of the units of the fleet? Yet the British Navy is not publicity-conscious. Is he also aware that I am convinced that this House would support a comparatively large extra sum on the Estimates—£100,000 or something of that kind—to publicise the doings of the Royal Navy at the present time?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I know that my noble Friend the First Lord is aware of this point, as I am aware of it. The last First Lord gave details in the Naval Memorandum last year—far more thorough details than there have been in recent years. I will certainly bear the point in mind.

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