HC Deb 12 October 1976 vol 917 cc232-3
11. Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the naval building programme.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Royal Navy (Mr. A. E. P. Duffy)

The naval shipbuilding programme is proceeding satisfactorily.

Mr. Taylor

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the concern felt in the Yarrow yard in Glasgow that nationalisation in the shipbuilding industry might result in a change in the present arrangements, whereby the Government concentrate naval shipbuilding in Vosper's, Vickers and Yarrow? Will he give an assurance that after nationalisation the policy of his Department of concentrating naval shipbuilding in these three yards will continue?

Mr. Duffy

Yarrow is at the moment building six frigates for the Royal Navy and it is expected that it will be invited to tender in the future for similar vessels. It has also been chosen as the second builder for glass reinforced plastic. Neither of these will be affected by the nationalisation Bill which is now before Parliament.

Mr. Taylor

That was not the question.

Mr. James Johnson

Is my hon. Friend aware that the deepest anxiety is felt by all fishermen because of poaching by alien vessels off Scotland and elsewhere? What plans does he have for enlarging the fishery protection fleet? We shall need these boats when we extend our fishing limits as every other nation is doing at the moment.

Mr. Duffy

That is a slightly different question. But the Island class, which is under construction, is designed for this purpose and it will go into service next year with the four Nimrod aircraft which also will be available. Any further tasks which need to be undertaken will be provided for by existing resources.

Mr. Stephen Ross

Is the Minister aware of the concern of my constituents about the problems of Vosper-Thorny-croft, which is now short of orders in naval shipbuilding? There is concern that the nationalisation of shipbuilding will mean that in future naval shipbuilding will be concentrated in the North and in Scotland. Will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that Vosper's will get its fair share in the future?

Mr. Duffy

Yes, I will give that assurance. Vosper-Thorneycroft was awarded the Type 42 destroyer contract earlier this year and it has tendered for the next Type 42 destroyer, on which no decision has yet been made. The nationalisation Bill at present before Parliament will not alter the situation.

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