§ 68. Mr. HOUSTON
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shipping Controller whether he was aware that congestion in the port of Liverpool was in creasing; that at noon on 6th August forty-five steamers were waiting for discharging berths; whether he was aware that many of these steamers had to wait fourteen days or thereabouts before obtaining discharging berths; that even when discharging berths were obtained, frequently owing to their being blocked with cargo from previous steamers, and other causes, steamers occupied three to four weeks to discharge their cargo; whether he was aware that in five or six weeks, now occupied in discharging, a steamer could make a voyage to America and back with a cargo of food; whether he was aware that this serious detention had the effect of considerably reducing our effective shipping tonnage and added greatly to the price of food and all other imports; and could he state what was being done to remedy this state of affairs?
I regret I can add little to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend on the 8th July last. The general position in Liverpool is as stated in the question, and the difficulties there have been increased by recent labour troubles. Every effort is being made to meet the situation.
§ Mr. HOUSTON
Can my hon. and gallant Friend not give some indication of what the steps will be that are to be taken— something more than an assurance?
I can hardly do that by means of question and answer. As my hon. Friend knows, steps are being taken by the President of the Board of Trade and by the Shipping Controller in order to relieve, as far as possible, the congestion which, we know, does exist.
§ Mr. HOUSTON
Does my hon. and gallant Friend realise that things are gradually getting worse instead of improving?
Yes, we fully realise that they have not improved, and we are doing everything possible to meet the situation. If my hon. Friend has any suggestions to make we shall be only too glad to have them.