HC Deb 05 March 1883 vol 276 cc1412-3

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, If, in view of the fact that Her Majesty already possesses three yachts in full Commission, in addition to the "Victoria and Albert" (one of them, the "Osborne," being of large tonnage), he will consent to postpone the proposed expenditure of £45,000 for repairs to the "Victoria and Albert;" whether the estimate for the repairs is for the hull only, or if it includes new boilers, overhauling of machinery, cabins, and other equipments; also regilding of the hull; whether, before sanctioning the outlay, at a time when the revenue is declining, he would recommend the sale of one or more of the four yachts; and, further, if he will grant a Return showing the orginal cost of all the four vessels, together with the amounts expended upon them for repairs and maintenance since they were built, and how often the two larger yachts have been employed in conveying Her Majesty across the Channel during the past ten years?


Sir, in answering the Question of the hon. Member for Sunderland, I wish to be allowed to correct a statement I made on this subject a few days ago. The estimates which at that time had come up from the Dockyard of the cost of repairing the Victoria and Albert amounted to £43,000, and I accordingly told the House that the cost of repairs would be about £45,000. Subsequently, however, a more detailed estimate has been received, including not only a thorough repair of the hull, but also new boilers and the complete repair of her engines, and amounting to £55,000. This estimate will not be approved until the Admiralty officers have made an accurate survey of the condition and requirements of the vessel, and no part of these repairs will be undertaken within the present financial year. My hon. Friend suggests that if this outlay is incurred one of the other Royal yachts might be sold. The vessels maintained for Royal use consists of two yachts and two tenders. No increase has been made for 20 years in the accommodation provided for Her Majesty's service; and it hardly seems that the moment when we propose to lay up one of the two yachts for an extensive and complete repair is an opportunity to be taken for depriving the Queen of the use of the only remaining full-sized yacht. There is no objection to furnish a Return of expenditure on the Royal Yachts if the hon. Member will move for it; but the particulars alluded to in the latter part of his Question can hardly be given in a Parliamentary Return.