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Shipbuilding, Devonport Dockyard

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 10 May 1961

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22.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty in view of the fact that the building of H.M.S. "Plymouth" has now been successfully completed in Her Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport, what plans he has for allowing another ship of this class or any other class to be built there in the near future.

Although H.M.S. "Plymouth" is virtually completed the construction of H.M.S. "Tartar" will continue until August, 1962. I am not yet in a position to make a statement considering future new building. I can promise that the particular claims of Her Majesty's Dockyard at Devonport will be fully taken into account.

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that Plymouth has twice the national average of unemployment and that H.M.S. "Eagle" will be finished in three years and that we do not now come under the Local Employment Act? Has he considered how he is to employ the 20,000 people who are now employed by the Admiralty in the dockyard?

I can foresee—and I have looked at this matter very carefully—a long period of high employment for Her Majesty's Dockyards, because we have to undertake a good deal of major refitting and modernisation of our ships. Only about 10 per cent. of our new construction, a comparative trickle, goes to the dockyards, while more than 90 per cent. goes to the commercial yards.