HC Deb 18 May 1961 vol 640 cc1538-9
17. Mr. Woodnutt

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his discussions concerning the development of the Malta dockyard are complete; and if he will now make a statement.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Agreement has now been reached between Her Majesty's Government and Bailey (Malta) Limited on the financing of the first and main phase of a revised and enlarged Development Plan for Malta dockyard.

The first phase of the plan, which the company hopes to complete during 1963, includes provision for a dock which will take tankers up to 85,000 tons deadweight, and include all the major works of conversion except the enlargement of No. 2 dock.

The preparatory clearing and diversion of services for the main dock alterations have been nearly completed and all the contract documents and plans for these main works are now finished, so that the company can now go to tender for the conversion of Nos. 4 and 5 docks, extension of Boiler Wharf and a tank cleaning farm and jetty. Towards the scheme for the first phase of this overall revised plan, which the company estimates will cost £8,060,000, Her Majesty's Government will contribute by way of loans £7¼ million. Her Majesty's Government have been able to make this offer because of the receipt of a satisfactory assurance from the company regarding the use of its own resources to meet the balance of the cost of phase I of the plan.

Mr. Woodnutt

I warmly thank my right hon. Friend for that reply which, I assure him, will be very welcome in Malta, particularly to the many thousands of people who work in the dockyard. In view of the considerable amount of capital to be invested by Her Majesty's Government in this dockyard, and in view of the even larger sums of Maltese capital invested outside Malta, which I understand are something in excess of £40 million, will he give me an assurance that he will, in conjunction with Messrs. Bailey (Malta) Limited, devise some plan to encourage Maltese capital to be invested in the dockyard?

Secondly, in view of the fact that two docks will be out of action for most of the time this work is in progress, will he ensure that a large proportion of the direct labour force of the company is used on this work?

Mr. Macleod

I should like to look at the specific points which my hon. Friend has made. The main point is that we have at last—I know that it has taken a long time—reached agreement on the financing of the main phase of the conversion of the Malta Dockyard, which is of enormous importance to the economy of Malta.

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