HC Deb 13 November 1968 vol 773 cc381-2
11. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on the review of the future of Royal Naval dockyards.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Navy (Dr. David Owen)

I cannot at present make a statement. The review on the future of the Royal Naval dockyards is not yet complete. I am, however, very aware of the need for urgency on this.

Mr. Judd

Would my hon. Friend understand that this is a most unsatisfactory Answer for a city in which two in five working men are employed in the dockyard and where there has been acute uncertainty for more than a year? A statement is long overdue. When can we have it?

Dr. Owen

As has been intimated previously, we are fully alive to the need to reach a decision about the Royal Dockyards without delay. Nevertheless, a subject of this magnitude requires wide, detailed examination and consultation, which precludes reaching an answer immediately.

Dr. Bennett

Would the hon. Member say what decision, if any, has been reached about the propositions for expanding Portsmouth Dockyard?

Dr. Owen

We are considering all options for the Royal Dockyards, and I cannot give any definite decision yet.

Dame Joan Vickers

When can we hear something about Plymouth Dockyard? The hon. Member is one of the representatives of the city and he knows the great importance of this. Also, when are we to have the report of the working party on dockyard technical colleges?

Dr. Owen

The hon. Lady is welt aware that I would like to give a statement as soon as possible, but I cannot especially favour Plymouth. I cannot say definitely yet when we will be able to make a statement.

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