§ Mr. Wilson
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the circumstances in which Royal Navy vessels were used to convey passengers to the Isle of Arran during the current ferry dispute; on whose authority they were used; and at what cost.
§ Mr. Ian Stewart
On 5 March a request was received from a field study centre on the Isle of Arran for RN assistance in transporting to the island a group of schoolchildren who had travelled from all over the United Kingdom to participate in a course at the centre.
This was a last minute request as, it was claimed, an industrial dispute had prevented the children from travelling on the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry. Commodore Clyde authorised the use of RMAS fleet tender Crick lade which was already in the area and able to fit the task into its planned programme. There was, therefore, no extra cost to public funds.