HC Deb 31 October 1929 vol 231 cc334-6W

asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps, if any, he proposes to take to meet the unemployment in Admiralty dockyards, private shipbuilding yards, and other works engaged on Admiralty contracts, respectively, created by the Government as the result of its decision to cancel and slow down work on naval construction?


As regards the situation in Admiralty dockyards, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answers given on the 29th of this month by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty to the right hon. Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) and the hon. and gallant Member for Portsmouth (Sir B. Falle). So far as private yards and other works are concerned, no direct measures are contemplated. The assistance which the Government is offering to schemes for the promotion of economic development and the reduction of unemployment will be available for the areas affected equally with other areas suffering from unemployment.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) whether he will state the number of men discharged from each of His Majesty's naval dockyards since 10th June, 1929, who have been found substituted work by his Department;

(2) whether he will state what schemes have been formulated by his Department for providing substituted work for the men already or to be discharged from His Majesty's naval dockyards; and whether he will consider the desirability of giving instructions that no further discharges are to be made unless and until substituted work is provided;

(3) whether he will state the number of men discharged from each of His Majesty's naval dockyards, respectively, since 10th June, 1929; and if any and if so, what further discharges are contemplated in the near future?


Every effort has been made to avoid discharges in the dockyards and the result has I think been very satisfactory. Since the 10th June last the numbers discharged have been:

Portsmouth 88
Chatham 173
Devonport 134
Sheerness 2

In the same period the entries have been:

Portsmouth 463
Chatham 153
Devonport 213
Sheerness 49

A considerable amount of work hither to done by contract is now being done in the dockyards, and the question of providing work to keep the workpeople economically employed is always under review. So far as can be foreseen the work in hand and in prospect is sufficient to keep the present number of workpeople employed until the end of the financial year, apart from any small adjustments that may be necessary to meet purely local conditions.

The point as to finding substituted work for men discharged is not under-stood. This is not, the function of the Admiralty.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it is his intention to pay any compensation to those established men who have been or may be discharged from His Majesty's naval dockyards in consequence of the Government's disarmament policy, and for whom substituted work cannot be found by his Department?


No established men have been discharged unless they have expressed their wish to leave the dockyard service with superannuation benefits, and no enforced discharges of established men are in prospect.