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Devonport Dockyard

Volume 130: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimates were available to him before 11 June 1987 of the number of redundancies at Devonport dockyard which would follow the introduction of Devonport Management; and when he was first informed that the final number would be 3,400.

The primary responsibility for manning levels in the royal dockyards rests with the contractors. For costing purposes, we had assumed 3,300 redundancies at Devonport over the seven years of the contract. However, as indicated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 24 February 1987, the only firm information available to my Department before 11 June 1987 was that Devonport Management Ltd. expected some 2,300 job losses by about 1990. At that stage, DML thought there would be little effect during the first year or so. It was not until August 1987, following a review of programme adjustments, that DML made known its revised assessment of 3,400 job losses over a similar period, including some 2,000 in 1987–88. I understand that in its first year the company now expects to have reduced the work force by 1,850, all but 48 of these job losses being achieved by voluntary redundancy or natural wastage.