HC Deb 26 April 1892 vol 3 cc1387-8
SIR E. HARLAND (Belfast, N.)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the Report for the year 1891 of Her Majesty's Consul General at Havre, in which he states— I have observed that much is being said of late, and a good deal of criticism passed, about the food and accommodation furnished to seamen. I cannot call to mind any complaints which have been made to me on the ground of bad food, and the few cases which have been brought to my notice have been where some article was given out during the voyage, with the result that a money compensation has been paid to the men in respect thereof; and whether he has any reason to doubt the correctness of those statements; if not, whether he will encourage any further legislation on the subject of provisions at sea until such has been found desirable after full inquiry by, say, a Departmental Committee of the Board of Trade?


My attention has been called to the Report referred to, and I see no reason to doubt that the extract quoted in the question of my hon. Friend correctly represents the experience of the Consul General at Havre, but the Consul General also admits that there are cases in which there is ground for complaint. I do not regard the absence of complaints at Havre as conclusive evidence of the good quality of the provisions supplied to all British ships, nor do I think it necessary to postpone legislation in order that such an inquiry as my hon. Friend suggests may be held.