HC Deb 26 March 1969 vol 780 cc1601-3
9. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with all levels of Staff in Her Majesty's naval dockyards following the decision to reduce manpower and to streamline management in the three southern yards.

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

Discussions were initiated on the Whitley Councils, and with the Whitley Committees of the four home dockyards on the day the Defence White Paper was published. On the same day each employee in the dockyards was given a pamphlet dealing with the future of his yard. In addition, a symposium about the details of the decisions concerning the dockyards has been given to members of the Whitley Councils and Committees, and to a number of district union officials.

Mr. Judd

I commend my hon. Friend on the action already taken. However, would he not agree that the success of the new scheme depends on men at all levels directly understanding the rôle of the yards servicing the Navy and understanding the rôle of the Navy they are servicing? Will he assure the House that full consultations of the kind recently held with civic leaders will be held with the men themselves?

Dr. Owen

Yes, I can give that assurance. I welcome the discussions already held on the initiative of the Commander in Chief, Portsmouth, with the Portsmouth civic leaders.

14. Mr. Ramsden

asked the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent he took into account industrial capacity in civil establishments outside the Royal Dockyards before arriving at the decisions on the Dockyard review.

Dr. David Owen

This factor was taken fully into account in arriving at the decisions announced in the Statement on the Defence Estimates 1969.

Mr. Ramsden

What is the estimated annual saving when the dockyard rundown is complete? Would the figure have been any greater if the alternative solution of a complete closure of one dockyard had been adopted?

Dr. Owen

I cannot give the figure without notice, but I will consider that question if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to write to me. As for the comparative costs between putting it out to contract——

Mr. Ramsden

No. The House has not been given the total annual saving as a result of the review when the rundown is complete.

Dr. Owen

I will consider giving that, but I cannot do so without notice.