§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how he intends to assist Gibraltar in establishing a commercial operation following the closure of the Royal naval dockyard.
§ Mr. Blaker
Her Majesty's Government have made clear to the Gibraltar Government our intention to look positively at ways of assisting them in the process of transition following the closure of the Royal Naval dockyard. At a recent meeting with the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Sir Joshua Hassan, I identified a number of ways in which the Ministry of Defence might help if commercial operation proves to be viable and is agreed by both Governments. They include, firstly, the transfer, free of charge, to the Gibraltar Government of such surplus460W dockyard land and assets as might be necessary to a commercial enterprise, once these needs have been established in detail with the potential operator. Secondly, the provision of some naval refit and repair work in 1983 and 1984, subject to detailed negotiation with the commercial operator, to assist the enterprise in its first years. Thirdly, we would be prepared separately to transfer free of charge to the Gibraltar Government the North Mole and the Viaduct Bridge. This transfer, and the transfer of the dockyard land and assets in the cicumstances I have described, would be the subject of Treasury Minutes to be laid before Parliament in accordance with the usual procedures, before any such gifts are made.