§ MR. NORRIS (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, What principle is adopted in the disposal of obsolete and useless ships of the Royal Navy; whether they are 71 submitted to public competition and sold to the highest bidder, or are disposed of to one privileged firm under special arrangements on a schedule of prices provided by the Admiralty: if recommendations have been made to the Admiralty against this mode of disposal; whether the Modeste, Sappho, Foam, Boxer, Benbow, and Teazer, were purchased by this one firm, and if he will state what they respectively realized; if he is willing that certain firm son the Thames who have expressed themselves desirous to tender, should have the opportunity given them to do so; and, also, if in the case of unarmoured, wooden, and certain other vessels, the Admiralty could themselves undertake the "breaking up" of such vessels with some saving to the Public (Service, and provide work to many of the unemployed of the various shipyards?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. FORWOOD) (Lancashire, Ormskirk)
(who replied) said: With respect to the obsolete vessels which the Board have determined to sell, tenders were invited by public advertisement in December last, and several offers received, but all were at so low a price that they were declined, and the vessels still remain unsold. No tender was on the last occasion received from any firm on the Thames. The Board are most anxious to extend the area of competition, and are open to receive offers from any person willing to buy at a fair market price. As to the sixth paragraph, I am afraid it would not prove a saving to the Public Service for the Admiralty to undertake the breaking up of ships even at their own Dockyards, much less at the private shipyards. The demand for old materials is not so good at the out ports as it is on the Thames. Should, however, we not obtain proper offers we shall have to re-consider the subject.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
asked, if it was impossible to use any of these vessels for training ships?
§ MR. FORWOOD
replied that none of them were condemned without proper examination and consideration.