HC Deb 25 January 1967 vol 739 cc1492-3
46. Mr. Costain

asked the Minister of Transport what consultations she has had to effect the greater utilisation of the smaller ports in the United Kingdom.

Mrs. Castle

The National Ports Council, whose responsibility it is to advise me on these matters, is fully aware of the important part played by the smaller ports in the economic life of the nation, and keeps in close touch with their problems.

Mr. Costain

Does not the Minister accept responsibility for the development of small ports, and would she not agree that it is necessary to increase the capacity of those small ports? Is it not necessary to have consultations with local authorities? Why will she not receive a deputation from Folkestone Council?

Mrs. Castle

It is certainly the duty of the National Ports Council to apprise itself of the needs of the smaller ports, and it is doing that, as the hon. Gentleman will see if he studies its Annual Report and Accounts for 1965. The Chairman, the Director-General and the chief officers have been making special tours and studies of the needs of the small ports, and I have their representations very much in mind.

Mr. McNamara

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the main grievance is that many of these smaller ports are not covered by the National Dock Labour Scheme? Will she consult her Department about the need to extend the scheme to cover the ports of the whole country?

Mrs. Castle

That is a different question.