§ Mr. HOUSTON
asked whether the cost of feeding Chinese seamen and firemen is only about one-half of the cost of feeding British seamen and firemen according to the Board of Trade scale; that the wages paid to Chinese seamen and firemen entered on the articles of a vessel in Chinese ports are about one-third of the wages paid to British seamen and firemen shipped in British ports, and that the wages paid to Chinese seamen and firemen shipped in British ports are considerably lower than the wages paid to British seamen and firemen shipped at the same ports; and whether he can state what wages are paid to Chinese seamen and firemen shipped in British ports and the wages paid to British seamen and firemen shipped at the same ports for the same voyages?
I am unable to give any reliable estimate of the relative costs of feeding British and Chinese seamen, but I am advised that the difference in cost is not so great as the hon. Member suggests. I am informed that the usual rates of money wages paid to Chinese sailors and firemen engaged in the United Kingdom are £3 10s. per month. The Report on Standard Time Rates of Wages in the United Kingdom at 1st October, 1910 (pp. 114, 115), shows that the money wages for A.B.'s varies from £3 per month for voyages from Liverpool to the West Coast of Africa to £4 10s. per month, and for firemen from £4 to £5 10s. per month.
§ Mr. HOUSTON
Has the right hon. Gentleman received the communication I sent him showing the cost of feeding British and Chinese seamen respectively calculated on the British Board of Trade scale for British seamen, and also on articles of consumption which were sold as recently as Saturday last for Chinese?
I am very much obliged to the hon. Member for the information. I have sent it on to the Department for examination.