HC Deb 22 November 1960 vol 630 cc948-9
7. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the latest position regarding the shipping services to the North Isles of Orkney.

Mr. Maclay

Designs are being prepared for new vessels for these services and tenders will be invited at an early date In the meantime I have offered to assist the Orkney Steam Navigation Company to maintain their present services and I am in negotiation with them about the operation of the services in future. I have been fortunate in obtaining the services of Sir Douglas Thomson, a Director of the Ben Line, to advise me on the shipping matters involved.

Mr. Grimond

Is the Secretary of State aware that, apart from ordering new ships, it is very important to get on with deciding the timing and frequency of the services? Will he make sure that in this matter the opinions of those who live in the North Isles are fully considered?

Mr. Maclay

I am well aware of the importance of the last part of the hon. Member's question, and I agree that it is extremely desirable to get arrangements for operation fixed as soon as we possibly can.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to ensure that Scottish shipyards are given the chance to tender for the construction of these ships?

Mr. Maclay

I should be horrified if Scottish shipyards were not given the chance to tender for them.