HC Deb 14 April 1964 vol 693 c210
2. Commander Kerans

asked the Postmaster-General what is his policy regarding the refitting of cable ships; and how much work of this nature has been undertaken in the North-East in the last three years.

The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. Ray Mawby)

Cable ships have an annual refit, the work being undertaken by firms familiar with their specialised structure and equipment. Two of the four Post Office cable ships—"Monarch" and "Ariel"—have had their annual refits done in the North-East, in each of the last three years.

Commander Kerans

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply and appreciating the technical difficulties involved in the refitting of cable ships, would he not contemplate channelling more of this work to the North-East, especially to Grey (Tees) Limited in my constituency, where unemployment is still 6 per cent.? Will my hon. Friend look at the matter again?

Mr. Mawby

We have, as I said, four cable ships and at the moment these ships each go to an area of relatively high unemployment. In fact, the other two ships, "Iris" and "Alert", are refitted on the River Clyde. I think that this is a fair balance for the four ships which we own.