First Day

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 6:17 pm on 6th May 1992.

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Photo of Mr David Martin Mr David Martin , Portsmouth South 6:17 pm, 6th May 1992

Yes, and the return on investment must therefore be made better for those who let to families than for those who let to other members of society, particularly students. If we can get that right, we shall get the provision of shelter right, just as we have got the provision of clothing and food right. This is very much a matter for investment decision, but we could do more to help and the Government should certainly address the matter afresh.

I was pleased to see the commitment in the Queen's Speech to leasehold reform, which has long been sought by many of my constituents and pressed by me and by many of my colleagues, who will also welcome it. At last, we are addressing the problem, which has been with us for many years.

I also welcome the reference in the Gracious Speech to British Rail. The lines to Portsmouth and the rolling stock used on them are long overdue for improvement and are often commented upon by visitors and compared with those in other parts of the country. I want to see the same dedication concentrated on such improvements as has been brought to bear on road links, and I am pleased by the positive nature of what is said in the Queen's Speech. I look forward to the delivery of such improvements in the coming years.

Crucial decisions remain to be made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on naval matters that directly concern Portsmouth. Top of my list—it has always been top of my list—for resolution is the future of the Fleet Maintenance and Repair Organisation. Fleetlands across the water is now a self-managed defence support agency. It is that status that I have continually sought for the Fleet Maintenance Repair Organisation. I did so in the last Parliament and I do so today, at the earliest opportunity in this Parliament. We require as early a decision as possible: the continuing morale and efficiency of the work force relies upon it. Let us have a decision which gives the work force a future, which is right for the times and which will enable us to seek and gain a work load to guarantee the FMRO's continuing role in serving the Royal Navy.

I have set out some of my ambitions for this Parliament and for my constituency. I have done so in the context of a Gracious Speech containing the promise of measures which I have no doubt will benefit the country as a whole.