HC Deb 17 March 1887 vol 312 cc539-41

IT will be observed that certain changes have been adopted in, and additions made to, the form in which the Appendices to the Estimates have hitherto been drawn up. The primary object of these alterations has been to place before the House in the simplest form the fullest possible information upon past and proposed future expenditure. Statements are also furnished in considerable detail of the capital stock of the nation in its Navy, Dockyards, and contents of the storehouses. These Statements will form the groundwork of a Capital Account which, it is hoped, may be presented in a more complete state next year.

In the detailed programme * of works to be undertaken during the year will be found under a separate heading for each vessel building particulars of her type, tonnage, load-draught, speed at mean-load draught, coal capacity, and armament as designed and approved. In the same column are shown the original estimated cost, as well as the outlay as at present anticipated, also the amount of the expenditure on each vessel during past financial years, with the probable actual outlay during the year ending on 31st March, 1887.

The total estimated cost of each vessel, including the estimated charge falling on Army as well as on Naval Votes, is also set out, thus affording information of the total outlay on the vessel complete for sea, exclusive of sea stores.

Hitherto it has not been customary to tabulate, in much detail, the proposed expenditure on the refit and repairs of vessels, it being impossible to give this information with the same approximation as with vessels building. Frequently the Estimates are provisional. They are made prior to the arrival and full survey of the vessel, and often the necessity for outlay only develops during the progress of the work. At the same time, this class of expenditure forms so important an item in the Naval Budget that the fullest possible details are now given of the amount proposed to be allocated to each vessel. The value of such outlays depends largely upon the character of the ship and her probable efficiency after alteration and refit as a vessel of war. Information is, therefore, now furnished which will enable an opinion to be formed upon these points. *Appendix to Navy Estimates.

The ordinary repairs and maintenance on the Channel and other squadrons and the estimated cost of miscellaneous Services are summarised separately. The Appendix also exhibits the proposed expenditure in the aggregate compared with the Votes.

The Vote for dockyard labour is taken in the present Estimates as a whole, and is not allocated, as has been the practice in past years, to the several Yards. The object of this change is to afford the Controller of the Navy more latitude in the distribution of work, and of the classes of labour, in a manner which may promote greater efficiency and economy in carrying out the varying requirements of the Navy.

The statement following the Appendices is the first of the series of Tables framed for the purpose of informing Parliament of the value of the property which the nation possesses in the Navy and the Establishments and Services connected therewith.

In the Table showing the cost of the Navy will be found the name of each effective ship in the Navy, with the year of her completion, original cost of construction, and subsequent total expenditure upon alterations, refits, and maintenance. Vessels which have become inefficient, bat which remain on the list, or those not worth the cost of immediate repair, or which have become obsolete, are placed in a separate category in the Summary, as also is the cost of troop and harbour ships, as well as of yard and other craft belonging to the Service.

The "Explanations of Differences," which have been previously printed as a separate Parliamentary Paper, are this year included, for the convenience of Members of the House, in the Navy Estimates.