Orders of the Day — Shipbuilding (Northern Ireland)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:03 am on 26th July 1982.

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Photo of Hon. Adam Butler Hon. Adam Butler , Bosworth 1:03 am, 26th July 1982

My hon. Friend took the words out of my mouth. I was coming to the question of naval orders. I am advised that Harland and Wolff's existing facilities are not suited for naval ship building. Any yard can be adapted, but the capacity for naval ship building in the United Kingdom is, I am informed, more than adequate for the purpose. Indeed, there has been some reduction in that capacity in the mixed yards. I doubt whether it would be right to spend the necessary sums of money to put Harland and Wolff in a position to make naval ships.

However, Harland and Wolff is fully capable of refit and repair work on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels. It is only in the past few days that I have again impressed on the Ministry of Defence the facilities that Harland and Wolff has and the dire need for orders of that sort. I hope that we can achieve a response in that area. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have probably been involved in most of the limited numbers of orders that have been floating around within reach of Harland and Wolff. Indeed, my right hon. Friend personally takes a close interest and gives help where it is proper for him to do so.