HC Deb 26 October 1920 vol 133 cc1577-8W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping what is the present position of the national shipbuilding yards and have they been transferred wholly to private enterprise; if not, what work is now being done by the Government; and what is the number of men employed and the weekly wage bill?

Colonel WILSON

The present position of the national shipyards is that the yards and houses at Chepstow, together with a portion of the houses at Beachley have been sold. In addition the greater portion of the surplus plant and machinery, including the platers shed at Beachley, have been sold, and the Portbury shipyard has been completely handed over to the Disposals Board. None of the yards are now being operated as shipbuilding yards by the Government. The expenditure which is still being borne by the Government relates to the completion of the housing scheme; the Chepstow water work scheme; the operation of the Beachley power house in accordance with the terms of the contract for the sale of the Chepstow yards; the sale of surplus stores and other unsold properties; and the re-instatement of the Portishoad Dock in accordance with the terms under which this property was taken over by the Government. There are at present about 460 men employed at all the yards, including 117 on clearing the housing sites, and 191 on the disposal and clearance of surplus stores both at Beachley and Chepstow, and the weekly wage bill is about £2,250. It is expected that the major portion of this expenditure will cease at the close of the current year.