Directorate of Overseas Surveys

Oral Answers to Questions — Overseas Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st February 1977.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Kingston upon Thames Surbiton 12:00 am, 21st February 1977

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if he has come to any conclusions about the future of the Directorate of Overseas Surveys at Tolworth.

Photo of Mr John Tomlinson Mr John Tomlinson , Meriden

Not yet, Sir. I shall, of course, inform the House as soon as a final decision has been reached, in accordance with my hon. Friend's precedessor's undertaking in the Adjournment debate on this subject on 17th November last.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Kingston upon Thames Surbiton

I was going to refer to that because November 17th is quite a long time ago. Bearing in mind that the Minister then said, and I quote his words—

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. I reminded the House the other day that quotations at Question Time are not in order except from the Government Front Bench.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Kingston upon Thames Surbiton

Will the hon. Gentleman take fully into account the Minister's assurance on 17th November that more precise information about the future of my constituents would be given as soon as possible? Will he also bear in mind that they are entitled to a more definitive statement than the Minister was then able to make? That was three months ago. When will the hon. Gentleman be able to make an announcement about this matter?

Photo of Mr John Tomlinson Mr John Tomlinson , Meriden

I regret the delay and I do not underestimate the problems facing the staff of DOS and their families during this prolonged period of uncertainty. I repeat the undertaking that more information will be available as soon as all the considerations have been gone into. I recognise the special problems on both sides of the question. It is for that reason, and because the DOS is a difficult case, that we are taking another look at the position.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Bain Mrs Margaret Bain , Dunbartonshire East

Will the hon. Gentleman also bear in mind that there was great distress in my constituency following the debate on 17th November—

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. There is great distress in a lot of constituencies, but if we wander around all the constituencies we shall be in trouble.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Bain Mrs Margaret Bain , Dunbartonshire East

Will the hon. Gentleman also bear in mind when reviewing this question that the majority of cartographer jobs are often south of the border? Has he an innate belief that the people of Scotland cannot handle cartography?

Photo of Mr John Tomlinson Mr John Tomlinson , Meriden

It is because this is a complex matter that all considerations will be taken into account before making a decision.