§ Lord CHARLES BERESFORD
asked what were the reasons for the delay in placing the contract for the fifth armoured ship in the 1911–12 Navy Estimates; whether the contracts for the last two unarmoured ships have yet been placed; if not, what is the reason for the delay; and whether the unexpended portion of the sums voted in the Navy Estimates for the construction of those ships will be devoted to other naval purposes during the current financial year?
§ The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Churchill)
The delay in placing the order for the fifth armoured ship of this year's programme has been due to reconsideration of the design. In the case of the two remaining protected cruisers, the delay is due, as the Noble Lord is aware, to my earnest endeavour to give the contract to the Thames. Some portion of the surplus which, for this and other reasons, has accrued under the contract shipbuilding Vote, has, with the sanction of the Treasury, been expended on other urgent services.
§ Lord C. BERESFORD
Would it not be bettor to put that fifth armoured ship into the 1912–13 programme instead of the 1911–12? It will really be a 1912–13 ship.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Oh, no. All the work of preparing the specifications, receiving the tenders, and adjudicating on the tenders, and allotting the contract has already been completed and the ship has now been placed and the work of collecting the material will go forward. The sum expended will not be very large, but at least four months off the full period of construction of the ship will count as falling in this year.