Naval Stores Depot, Bandeath

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th November 1975.

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Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan , Stirlingshire West 12:00 am, 25th November 1975

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to make a decision about the future of the naval stores depot at Bandeath.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

A decision will follow a detailed assessment of all the implications, taking account of the views of the staff and trade union sides. This is likely to take several months.

Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan , Stirlingshire West

Is my hon. Friend aware that a week ago today I attended a meeting of trade union representatives at Bandeath, at which a resolution was unanimously passed rejecting the ill-thought-out closure proposals presented by the so-called specialists? In view of the fact that about 170 jobs are at stake in an area where male unemployment is at least 7 per cent., will my hon. Friend give an assurance that careful consideration will be given to every alternative proposal for the continued use of Ban-death, especially as it has the advantage of being centrally situated and is easily accessible by road, rail and sea.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

The closure of Bandeath is one of a series of proposals by management consultants which the Ministry of Defence has yet to assess. In assessing them the views of trade unionists will be taken fully into account. The consultants consider that the depot is unsuited to its task, in terms of buildings, acreage and distance from Rosyth. My hon. Friend will appreciate that it is impossible to implement the defence review and its consequences without adjustments to support services which involve manpower.

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

Does the Minister agree that it is a healthy sign that the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) is now, at last, taking an interest in defence matters, that he is pressing for defence establishments to be kept open, and that he is concerned, on behalf of his constituents, about the effects, on unemployment, of the defence cuts already announced? Will the Minister tell him that he had better await those cuts still to come?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

I assure the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) that I always take most seriously my hon. Friend's views—both past and present—on defence.