§ Mr. HERBERT CRAIG
asked whether the First Lord can state on what grounds a telegram addressed to the coastguard station, Sunderland, by relations of the crew of the Cullercoats fishing coble "Grand Old Man," asking for news of the boat which had been driven southwards during a gale on 31st August, was refused at the coastguard station; and whether it is part of the duty of the coastguard to render assistance by keeping a look-out and reporting vessels in distress?
§ Mr. McKENNA
The telegram received by the Sunderland coastguard station did not contain any name or address of the sender. Inquiries were made of the Sunderland Post Office whether they could furnish the name and address, but they could not do so. It was therefore impossible to reply—and the original telegram and reply-paid form were returned to the General Post Office, Sunderland. The reply to the second part of the question is in the affirmative.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend's question appears to be founded on a wrong impression of the basis for the distribution of the coastguards, there being large tracts of the coast not supervised at all by the force. The average number of coastguards per mile of coastline under the supervision of the force is in England one to 1.2 miles, in Scotland one to four miles, but the number of coastguards employed in any particular area is fixed according to the special requirements of Revenue protection in such area, and is dependent on other considerations than those of length of coastline. The larger number of men in England is due to the greater facilities for smuggling—for example, proximity of foreign countries, easier access by boats, etc.—and for the same reasons a more careful watch and more frequent visits are required, necessitating a larger number of men. The amount of work is not, therefore, to be gauged by the length of coastline, and it is not considered that the men in Scotland have more onerous duties than those in England.