§ Mr. Hicks
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will state the specific measures that his Department has taken to alleviate the adverse economic and social effects for the Plymouth travel-to-work area resulting from the projected job reductions at Her Majesty's dockyard, Devonport; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
As my hon. Friend knows, the naval refit and repair programme is a declining one, and we have estimated that, as a result, the job losses at Devonport dockyard alone over the next seven years would amount to some 5,000, of which some 4,000 would be lost by April 1990. The planned introduction of commercial management to Devonport dockyard from 6 April, under a contract signed with Devonport Management Limited (DML) on 24 February, is expected to result in a significantly lower level of job losses, of some 2,300 by 1990, and DML will seek to minimise compulsory redundancies. The biggest single measure that my Department can make, therefore, to alleviating the job losses which would otherwise result from the decline in naval shipwork is the introduction of commercial management as planned.
So far as the current year is concerned, the work load at Devonport is such that selective recruitment is necessary. DML is committed to increasing the Dockyard's efficiency so that in the longer term it can compete, with increasing success, for unallocated Royal Navy work and commercial work, thereby minimising job losses in the Dockyard. DML is also committed to craft and apprentice training and estimates that in 1987 some 125 to 150 apprentices will be required. Wherever practicable, co-operation with local educational and training institutions will be encouraged.