HC Deb 12 June 1917 vol 94 cc762-3
49. Major HUNT

asked whether, in view of the fact that he gave the country to understand some time ago that it was the intention of the present Government to control shipping, and in view of the fact that the net profits on shipping for 1913 have been estimated at £20,000,000, and that for 1916 they have been estimated at £135,000,000, after the Excess Profits Tax had been deducted, he can say whether these estimates are accurate; and, if so, what steps he has taken or proposes to take in order that the food of the people may not be so seriously increased in price by the profits of a small number of shipowners in 1917, especially in view of the protection given to them by the Fleet and the benefit to them of the low rate of insurance fixed by the Government?


There is no official information, but such inquiries as I have been able to make suggest that the disparity between the figures for the two years is not nearly so wide as is indicated by these estimates. As regards the second part of the question, my right hon. Friend has already given the House a full explanation of the measures taken by the {government to control shipping and to restrict shipping profits.

Major HUNT

Has that been done?


Is my hon. Friend aware that during the whole course of the War the highest freight on imported meat from the Argentine is only about one penny, and in many cases much less, and that the freight on wheat from the United States to this country charged by British shipowners does not represent more than three-farthings on a 4lb. loaf?