HC Deb 14 February 1973 vol 850 cc1277-8
26. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet received the results of the inquiry conducted by the National Ports Council into the operations of the "non-scheme" ports; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peyton

I would refer my hon Friend to the reply given to a similar Question from the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley) on 31st January.—[Vol. 849, c. 392.]

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that now that it has become apparent that the Aldington-Jones recommendation on the redundancy scheme has cost the taxpayer £30 million, much of it going to perfectly able-bodied and fit dockers who have had to be replaced from the temporary register, it suggests that Lord Aldington and Mr. Jones were less than perfect in their conclusions? Will my right hon. Friend therefore treat with considerable scepticism any suggestion emanating from that quarter which would have serious financial effects on the smaller ports?

Mr. Peyton

I do not know of anyone who has been perfect in respect of recommendations having to do with the dock industry for many years. The Aldington-Jones Committee made a constructive attempt to get rid of a real sore—the existence of a temporary unattached register—and in particular to enable those who were sick or 55 and over to get out of the industry without further trouble. I think it has been a useful thing, although costly—I agree. My hon. Friend mentioned the smaller ports. The question of the boundaries of the national dock labour scheme was not within the terms of reference of the National Ports Council's inquiry.

Mr. Simon Mahon

Contrary to the opinion of the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne), there are men who have sacrificed the whole of their working lives in the Liverpool docks and are receiving nothing like the amount of money mentioned by the hon. Gentleman. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have people in my constituency who have done 45 years' hard work in the Liverpool docks but are being treated in a most parsimonious fashion?

Mr. Peyton

I do not know that that point arises on this Question.