HC Deb 18 December 1962 vol 669 cc1060-1
12. Mr. Millan

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will make a statement on his proposals fax providing alternative work in shipyards.

Mr. Rippon

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour said in reply to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) on 12th December, I am giving consideration to this possibility.

Mr. Millan

Cannot the Minister be just a little more specific than that? Is he thinking, for example, about this in the context of the building of industrialised houses? Is he aware that, although we would like to see shipyards doing the job for which they were built, namely, building ships, if that cannot be arranged we should be very glad to see the skill and facilities which they have used for other things such as, for example, the building of industrialised houses?

Mr. Rippon

In so far as the shipyards need further outlets for their activities at present, I have been in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport as to how we can best use spare capacity for the preparation of building components and matters of that kind. I have in mind setting up a team which will consider in detail the various types of prefabrication which the shipyards might undertake.

Mr. McInnes

Will the right hon. Gentleman go beyond the stage of consideration and indicate some specific proposal the Government have in mind?

Mr. Rippon

It must be appreciated that this is a new field of activity and there are formidable problems to be solved.

Mr. Rankin

Unemployment is not a new field of inactivity. Would the right hon. Gentleman approach it from that point of view and try, if he appoints this team, to get it to report much more speedily than some other teams have reported?

Mr. Rippon

That is exactly what we have in mind.