A joint examination of the work of selected depôts has just been completed, and I am discussing with the trade unions the results of this examination and the further steps which should now be taken. It would be premature for me to make any further statement, or to publish the Reports at this stage.
The last part is not true. The Mann Committee reported to me as Minister and I regarded that information as confidential. I have acted upon sample surveys taken by the Mann Committee by establishing an inquiry into one of my important depôts. Based upon the result of that inquiry, in which I am taking the trade unions with me step by step, I shall come to certain decisions. When that is done, I will inform the House. But it must be for me to decide.
The Mann Committee took sample surveys only and came to certain conclusions. I was not prepared to accept the Report of the Mann Committee at face value. This had to be tested and proved. Therefore, I set up my own investigation over a wide area of my Ministry's activities, in conjunction with the trade unions. Based on the results of that inquiry, I will be in a stronger position to say whether the Mann Committee was right. It does not follow that, because the Mann Committee has issued a report, it is right.
Will my right hon. Friend say whether he has had representations from M.P.B.W. workers in Rosyth dockyard on the question of redundancies, and can he give an assurance that everything possible will be done to preserve jobs in this sector, bearing in mind that it is a development area?
Is the Minister aware that in March he said that 50 per cent. of the maintenance was done by his direct labour department and in July that 40 per cent. was done by his direct labour department? Does that mean that there has alreday been a run-down, or is there some other reason?
My Department's record on maintenance is very good. The exact proportion, whether it is 60 per or 50 per cent., I cannot give off the cuff. All I can say is that it varies. A considerable proportion is already done by contractors, and some of those are very inefficient.