asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement on the future of the Port of London Authority.
As I announced on 7 December, I have set a strict financial limit on the total of Government assistance to the authority. Subject to adjustments to cope with inflation and the latest forecasts, this is set at the level promised by the last Government.
Does my right hon. Friend realise that, in the town of Sheerness, we not only have a truly magnificent steelworks but an outstandingly successful port? Will he make it clear, or try and establish with the Port of London Authority, that the future of the PLA in no way includes any plans for taking over the Medway and the port of Sheerness?
Yes, Sir. I am aware of the points that my hon. Friend rightly makes about the steelworks and the port of Sheerness. None of the proposals that we have made on the future of the port of London affects in any way the future arrangements for Sheerness.
Has my right hon. Friend any information about present industrial problems in the Port of London Authority and whether he expects a settlement in the near future?
As my hon. Friend knows, there is a strike, and the port at the moment, is at a standstill. I do not believe that it would be helpful, at this time, for me to comment on the strike at the port. I know that both management and unions are making efforts to solve the problems. I gather that a meeting is currently going on, organised by the Transport and General Workers Union, and that there is to be a further meeting on Friday. I would only say that I very much hope that this strike can be brought to an end. It is clearly doing no good at all to the future prospects of the PLA.