HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 cc439-40
26. Mr. Small

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what consideration is given to the unemployment situation when placing contracts for new naval vessels; and to what extent this consideration has weighed in the placing of contracts for new vessels to be laid down in the next financial year.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

Our procedure ensures that all areas of high unemployment are given the opportunity to win contracts for naval construction. As most of the warship builders are already in the development districts, most of the contracts for the building of warships go to areas of high unemployment.

Mr. Small

Will the hon. Gentleman recognise that the livelihood of many men in the areas of high unemployment depends on this work? Is he aware that we shall watch acutely the distribution of the orders? Can he state the total value of shipbuilding orders at present?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

The total value of shipbuilding orders is £215 million, of which £150 million is spent actually with the shipbuilders themselves. I am aware of the other point, and I should like to say that it is not a matter only of shipbuilding. For instance, the Royal Navy has placed contracts in Scotland totalling £15 million for N.A.T.O. sites being constructed in Scotland, and we give much other substantial support in our naval establishments, like the establishment at Lossiemouth.

Miss Harvie Anderson

Will my hon. Friend emphasise the need to improve efficiency and timing?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Yes, Sir.