HC Deb 12 March 1880 vol 251 cc914-5

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether, in view of the fact that one of the results of the scheme under the management of the Board of Trade, commonly called the "Midge" Scheme, for the transmission of seamen's wages, is to take out of the east of London considerable sums of money which would otherwise be spent there, while at the same time, from the scheme being confined to London, no money is transmitted to it, he will, if the scheme is to be continued, be prepared to extend it to other Ports of the Kingdom?


Sir, I agree that it would appear hardly reasonable that men who land in London should have facilities for transmitting 'their wages away from London, under what is known as the "Midge" scheme, whereas those who land at the outports should have no facilities for transmitting their wages to London, if their homes are here. I am happy to say that this scheme for the transmission of wages, the credit of which is due to the admirable exertions of one of the permanent officers of the Board of Trade, has been eminently successful as regards the Port of London. Inward bound ships, under it, are met by officers connected with the Board of Trade before the crews land; and the seamen are informed that, if they desire it, as soon as they are able to land, arrangements will be made by which railway tickets will be provided, for them, so as to enable them at once to go off to their homes without the usual disastrous waiting about the purlieus of the docks, and that their wages will be transmitted to the port where they live. A large number of men have gladly availed themselves of this benefit, and as much as £50,000 has been transmitted in this way during the two years in which this scheme has been in operation. I have been so satisfied with its effect in London, and have found it so acceptable both to shipowners and men, that during the last few months I have made arrangements, with the cordial co-operation of the local shipowners, by which the same system will be established very shortly at Liverpool, on the Clyde, at Cardiff, at Plymouth, at Bristol, Dundee, Shields, and Swansea. I have good hopes of being able to extend still further a system which I have no hesitation in saying, as I did not originate it, promises to be one of the most hopeful arrangements for improving the condition of British seamen and for meeting the increasing desire of the sailor for a better state of things.