HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 cc437-8
23. Mr. Millan

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty how many naval ships are to be built on the Clyde in the year 1963–64; how many will be started in the next six months; and what will be the estimated cost of them when completed.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

The Clyde is already building an assault ship, a 6,000-ton guided missile destroyer, six frigates and two Oberon class submarines. Four Clyde firms are invited to tender for the two fleet replenishment ships awaiting order and, as I announced in the Estimates Debate, one of the three firms with whom we are discussing the Polaris submarine building programme is at Greenock.

We normally announce our shipbuilding plans as we are ready to go to tender for particular vessels, and we shall follow this practice during the year.

Mr. Millan

In view of the employment position on the Clyde, is it not possible to bring forward some of these orders a little, and so provide more work now?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

We are examining this position. The total orders on the Clyde are £57 million for naval vessels, of which £40 million actually goes to the firms on the Clyde, so they have a very worth-while contribution to make, and are making a worth-while contribution to the Navy.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that on the Clyde there should be built at least one nuclear-propelled vessel in the near future?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

There are rival claims between Merseyside and Clyde-side, as the hon. Gentleman knows.