HC Deb 10 May 1916 vol 82 c657

asked the Prime Minister if he has considered the suggestion that, with a view to facilitating the building of merchant ships necessary to make good the losses occasioned by the War, a conference should be arranged with Labour leaders to discuss the formation of shipbuilding battalions on the lines of the Dockers' Battalion; and if the Government propose to take any action in this direction?

The PRESIDENT Of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

The building of merchant ships is being expedited by all practicable means, including the certification of the work in suitable cases as munition work, and the recall of shipbuilding workmen from the Colours. Efforts are also being made to secure the more economical utilisation of labour on shipbuilding, and in my opinion a good deal more could usefully be done in this direction. The particular suggestion made by the hon. Gentleman had not previously come to my notice, but I shall be glad to give it consideration.