§ MR. C. M'LAREN (Leicester, Bosworth)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can state the number and classes of ships which since November last have been given by the Admiralty to be built by private contractors, specifying the number and total tonnage given to yards on the Clyde, the Mersey, and Barrow-in-Furness on the one hand, and yards on the Tyne, the Wear, the Humber, and the Thames on the other; and whether any of the firms on the west coast to whom contracts have been given have had no previous experience in building the class of vessel now undertaken by them?
§ MR. CLARENCE SMITH (Hull, E.)
Before the right hon. Gentleman 20 answers that question may I ask him, in the interests of my constituents, for an assurance that the failure of Hull to obtain a contract was merely due to the question of price, and was no reflection on the quality of the former work done at Hull. I should also like to ask if he is aware that at the present time work is more plentiful on the west coast where all these orders have been placed than on the east coast?
THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Sir U. KAY-SHUTTLE-WORTH,) Lancashire, Clitheroe
I regret very much that Hull should have been unsuccessful in tendering for these orders. It is simply a question of cost. The ships built at Hull have given great satisfaction. In answer to the question on the Paper, I have to say the first paragraph of my hon. Friend's question could not be dealt with within the limits of an answer. If hon. Members desire a Return of the vessels recently put out to contract, and the locality of the firms who have obtained the contracts, there will be no objection. The firms on the west coast, with whom contracts have been placed for battleships and cruisers, have all had previous experience of building such ships.
§ MR. C. M'LAREN
Can the right hon. Baronet give, in the form of an answer to a question, the amount of tonnage placed on the west coast compared with that for the east coast?
SIR C. KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH
With respect to the battleships and cruisers the whole of the orders have gone to the west coast, the tenderers on the east coast having been singularly unsuccessful.