§ MR. LENG (Dundee)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has recently received a representation from the Committee of Lloyds' 1729 that the need of additional lights and fog signals on the coast of Scotland has been accentuated by the great increase in the number of vessels which now approach the cast coast from the Atlantic round the North of Scotland; whether he is aware that nearly 700 vessels, with a tonnage exceeding 630,000 tons, passed Dunnet Head Signal Station in the year 1891; whether he is aware that there is no fog signal between the Atlantic and Aberdeen, although the northern passage is now used by so many vessels coming to the east coast and the Baltic; and whether, either from the Mercantile Marine Fund or otherwise, as soon as the lights and fog signals on the English coast already determined upon have been completed, steps will be taken to erect lights and fog signals on the headlands and islands of Scotland as recommended by Lloyd's Committee?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. MUNDELLA,) Sheffield, Brightside
To the four questions of the hon. Member the replies are as follows: — (1) Yes. (2) The signal station referred to belongs to Lloyd's, who have furnished the figures quoted in the questions. (3) No. Two fog signals have been recently established on Fair Isle, and another is in course of erection on Rattray Head. (4) Considerable sums for some years past have been, and, at the present time, are being, expended in Scotland. And whatever applications may come to me from the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses will, so far as the condition of the Mercantile Marine Fund permits, receive careful consideration; but the condition of the Fund precludes the possibility of large expenditure on new works.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Is it not a fact that the Commissioners of Northern Lights have made repeated applications to the Board for a grant from Parliament for additional lights on the north-west coast?
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I should be glad to have notice of that question. I have no doubt they have made such application, but I must point out that in recent years the cost of coast lighting has greatly increased, and has been in excess of the money obtainable from the Mercantile Marine Fund.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
Is it not a fact that out of this 1730 Mercantile Marine Fund, which is obtained by a levy on ships and sailors, a sum of £120,000, or thereabouts, is abstracted to cover the expenses of inspection and maintaining clerks at Whitehall?
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I do not think that that arises out of the' question. Nothing whatever is derived from a levy on sailors.