§ 23. Dame Joan Vickers
asked the Minister of State for Defence, in view of the fact that there have been strikes recently in shipbuilding yards, if he will consider transferring some of the orders placed by Her Majesty's Government for the building of ships for the Royal Navy to Her Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport.
§ Mr. Ian Gilmour
To do as my hon. Friend suggests would not relieve the difficulties of the shipbuilding yards. which, of course, was a primary object of the recent Naval orders.
§ Dame Joan Vickers
Could my hon. Friend say how far the ships are behind schedule? Will he recollect that Devon-port has built ships before and appreciate that we have large unemployment in the area? In view of the strikes in other shipyards, surely we should be given a chance.
§ Mr. Gilmour
The programme will be delayed a little by the strike, but not substantially. As my hon. Friend knows, the structure of the labour force at Devon-port is primarily concerned with repair and maintenance and the modernising of the fleet, but we shall retain the capability for building small ships there.