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Royal Dockyards Policy Board

Volume 375: debated on Monday 18 October 1976

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2.47 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will cause the publication of an annual report on the Royal Dockyard Advisory Board.

My Lords, the Royal Dockyards Policy Board functions under the general policy direction of the Admiralty Board. Its role is, indeed, an advisory one, and it would be inappropriate for it to publish an annual report of its activities.

My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for that Answer, may I ask him to join with me in paying a tribute to the late Lord Feather whose regrettable death prevented him from being a very helpful member of this Board. In these days of industrial democracy, surely it is only fair to let people working in these organisations know what is going on. Does the noble Lord realise that evey time there is a change of Government or a change of Minister there is anxiety among dockyard workers, who are often used as a political football, and that if they had some knowledge of events it might obviate that anxiety?

My Lords, I think the noble Baroness is confusing two issues. It is not the role of the Policy Board to advise the workforce but to advise the Board of Admiralty on the total functioning of the dockyards. Trade union machinery is established for information to be disseminated about future policy. I am certain that it is used, at least it was in my day.