§ 32. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many enemies' interned steamers have been put or are being put into the coasting trade; and whether the Admiralty is exacting the highest rates prevailing in the market for these boats?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
Thirty vessels are being used in the coasting trade out of thirty-six. The remainder are either un-seaworthy or being employed for other purposes. The freight at which they are chartered is the current freight of the day for the voyage. The result of the action of the Admiralty has been to reduce the freights from the Tyne for instance from 13s. 6d. to 11s.
§ Mr. PERCY ALDEN
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman why the current rates on railways are not being charged on the steamers? If the railways are taking a lower rate, why should traders be asked to pay the market rate, which is now 11s. instead of 4s.?
§ 33. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the Admiralty is letting enemies' interned steamers to shipowners and demanding from them considerably higher rate of pay than the Admiralty is itself paying the same shipowners for the use of their boats which have been commandeered; and whether the rates which have been charged for the interned ships are being accumulated for the benefit of the alien enemy when the War is over?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The Admiralty is not letting the enemies' interned ships to shipowners, but is running them for Government account. The freights earned are paid into the Exchequer. The ultimate disposal of the fund so raised is not yet decided upon, but it will not go to the enemy owners of the vessels.