§ 21. Mr. W. Hamilton
asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what protests he has received concerning the threatened withdrawal of the assisted travel scheme at Rosyth Dockyard; and how soon he expects to come to a decision on the matter.
§ Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing
Apart from a memorandum sent to me by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Henderson-Stewart) and the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton), I have received no protest about this. I cannot say when the review of this scheme will be completed but we would give three months' notice of any change that we decided on.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Is the Minister aware that the trade unions concerned are very perturbed at the prospective withdrawal of this scheme, and that it will mean that many workers will be faced with a substantially increased outlay per week and that many of them, who travel very far, will probably have to give up their jobs? Is he aware that this is at a time when it is very difficult in Scotland to obtain an alternative job? Will he undertake to keep these considerations in mind before he gives a decision?
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
We have always tried to make it clear that this form of travel aid is no part of wages and was not to be so considered. I understand what the hon. Member has said. We will certainly allow time for representations to be made before any changes are made. The men pay the first 6s. of their own travelling costs. After that, about 1,000 men receive 3s. or less a week assistance; another 1,000 receive between 3s. and 9s. a week assistance; and a further 500 receive between 9s. and 21s. a week assistance. We have also to bear in mind the interests of the taxpayers as well as the interests of others. I will certainly see that this matter is carefully considered before any decisions are reached.