§ Lord C. BERESFORD
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the fact that the value of the present stock of coal for the Fleet is over £430,000 more than on 1st April last year; whether that stock is to be still further increased by 31st March next year; and, if so, what are the reasons for the present and future increases in the amount stored compared with a year ago?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The figure quoted by the Noble Lord includes all descriptions of fuel and lubricants for His Majesty's ships. The increase is due to increased stocks of coal and oil-fuel, and 414 also to a higher basis of valuation consequent on higher market prices. The stocks of coal have recently been materially increased above the normal level to provide against a contingency which has arisen. But, apart from that, there is no appreciable variation in the basis of stocks of coal provided for during the total period of two years, i.e., as between 1st April, 1911, and 1st April, 1913, other than that necessary on account of a general increase in the requirements. Such increases as are provided for, both in respect of coal and oil, during the two years in question, are necessitated by the increase in tonnage and horse-power of ships, and are not due to any change in the basis or reserves.