§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what was the number of persons in receipt of wages at Devonport Dockyard and at Portsmouth Dockyard on the 1st July last, as compared with the 1st July, 1902, and the 1st July, 1901; what number of slips on which a first-class battleship or armoured cruiser can be laid down are vacant in Devonport and Portsmouth Dockyards, or will be vacant before 1st January next, with regard to which there is no present intention on the part of the Admiralty of laying down other ships before that date.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. ARNOLD FORSTER,) Belfast, W.
The number of persons in receipt of wages at the Devonport Dockyard on 1st July, 1901, was 8,116; 1st July, 1902, 8,528; and on the 1st July of the present year it was 9,475, an increase over 1901 of 1,359. The corresponding figures for Portsmouth Dockyard are:—1st July, 1901, 9,756; 1st July, 1902, 9,896; 1st July, 1903, 10,282, an increase over 1901 of 526. No slip on which a first-class battleship or armoured cruiser can be laid down is vacant at Portsmouth. There is one such slip now vacant at Devonport, and a second will become vacant on the launch of the "King Edward VII." on the 23rd July. It is proposed to lay down a new ship in each of the three principal Yards in April next.