HC Deb 01 March 1961 vol 635 cc1581-2
26. Mr. Woodnutt

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, in view of the proposed redundancies at J. Samuel White's shipbuilding yards at Cowes, Isle of Wight, what further work his Department intends placing with the company.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

As announced in the Navy Estimates debate last year, the Admiralty intend that as many as possible of our new ships should be ordered as a result of competitive tendering. Messrs. J. S. White will be invited to tender for all Her Majesty's ships for which they have the necessary facilities.

Mr. Woodnutt

While I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he is aware that unless J. Samuel White on the Isle of Wight receive further orders, no fewer than 1,000 men will be made redundant by the end of this year? As there are only 30,000 employed people on the Isle of Wight, it means more than 3 per cent., and as the unemployment percentage is already 4.6 per cent., it will bring us up to the highest in the country, apart from Northern Ireland? In view of the high quality of the work of J. Samuel White's yards and the fact that the frigate which the firm is to launch on 20th March is of the highest quality and lowest price in its batch, will my hon. Friend see that a special effort is made to provide more work for that firm?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I realise those facts. I hope that my hon. Friend will urge the firm to put in as keenly competitive a tender as it possibly can. Maybe it will then get the next order

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