HC Deb 20 December 1961 vol 651 c1329
1. Commander Kerans

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty when he expects to complete the run-down of the Reserve Fleet at 'West Hartlepool; and if he will make a statement.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing)

The run-down of the Reserve Ships Sub-Division at West Hartlepool is being carried out in accordance with the Admiralty's policy of reducing overheads by concentrating reserve ships in fewer ports. We have now reluctantly decided to withdraw the remaining ships from West Hartlepool in the course of 1962.

Commander Kerans

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for keeping the Reserve Fleet in my constituency for as long as he has, but is he aware that we have the highest unemployment in the North-East? I hope that he and his colleagues will do all they can for the re-employment of those who are left high and dry next year.

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I am aware of the unemployment problems of West Hartlepool and I have been in touch with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and with the Ministry of Labour about them. It is not Admiralty men but contractors' men who will be redundant, but we must face the fact that this concentration of the Reserve Fleet will save us some £70,000 a year.