HC Deb 08 February 1962 vol 653 cc600-1
15. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what agreement has been reached with Messrs. Baileys (Malta) Ltd. about the conversion of Malta Dockyard to civilian use; when the major contracts were placed; and when the work is expected to be completed.

Mr. Maudling

My predecessor informed my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) on the 18th May last of the agreement reached between Her Majesty's Government and Messrs. Bailey (Malta) Ltd., on the financing of the revised and enlarged development plan for the Dockyard. I am glad to say that the main contract for the conversion of the Dockyard has now been placed and work should begin very soon. I hope that it will be completed in about two years.

Mr. Wall

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the House and the Maltese people will be delighted that this overdue agreement has now been signed? Can he assure the House that the level of employment in the Dockyard will now be able to be maintained and that ship-repairing work will be continued during the period of conversion?

Mr. Maudling

I would like notice of any question in which I am asked to give assurances about particular levels of employment or work.

Mr. Driberg

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with the observation just made by his hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations that when public money is disbursed proper accounting methods must be followed? In view of the record of this particular firm, will that be done in future?

Mr. Maudling

I accept my hon. Friend's principle and reject the hon. Member's supplementary question.

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