§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, what is the answer to the complaint of the Comptroller and Auditor General, dated 6th January, 1898, as to six destroyers on which £191,000 had been spent before 31st March, 1897, and which, though ordered early in 1894, had not been delivered in January, 1898?
§ MR. MACARTNEY
Of the six destroyers specified, the Zebra has been delivered since the date named in the Question, having finally fulfilled the conditions of the contract as regards speed, etc. No penalty will be inflicted. Repeated trials showed that the large locomotive boilers in the Fervent and Zephyr would not develop the necessary power to attain the contract speed. Fresh arrangements have been entered into with the contractors to remove these boilers and instal approved water-tube boilers. This work is now in hand. The Conflict, Teazer, and Wizard have been delayed by difficulties in obtaining the contract speed, and by accidents which occurred on the steam trial. No instalment beyond the 8th, which has been earned on each of the vessels, has been paid. The question of waiving or inflicting penalties does not arise until the vessels are satisfactorily completed and delivered.