HC Deb 08 July 1884 vol 290 cc505-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether he has any information in his office tending to show that, owing to the assistance afforded by Government bounties, the ship-building trade of France is now in a prosperous condition, and that owing to the navigation bounties, British vessels are unable to compete successfully in many of the long voyage trades with French ships?


I have not the figures of the tonnage of ships built in France since 1882; but the tonnage showed a considerable decrease between 1872 and 1881, although, in 1882, it increased and reached 56,594 tons. In 1872 it was 50,697, and, therefore, the total increase in the tonnage built in the 10 years is less than 6,000 tons. In the same period, the tonnage built in England rose from 474,000 to 783,000, an increase of 300,000, or over 50 times greater an increase than in the French shipbuilding trade. As regards long sea voyages, I find that the percentage of British ships increased from 80.8 in the first five months of 1882 to 84.3 in the same period of 1884; while the percentage of British tonnage clearing out for the same period increased from 82.2 to 83.4; which would tend to prove that British shipbuilders and shipowners are well able to hold their own against foreign numbers. I may add that I have recently received information that, in spite of the bounty system in France, some of the best lines were losing largely.


asked, on what date and in what year the bounty system was established in France?


I cannot say exactly; but it has been recently established.