§ 77. Mr. HOUSTON
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shipping Controller whether British steamers, by the direction of the Shipping Controller, are required to carry grain from Buenos Ayres to the United Kingdom at 62s. 6d. per ton weight, while vessels of other nationalities are free to obtain 260s. per ton and upwards to Continental ports; whether he is aware that time-charter rates for British steamers are about 25s. per ton, and that similar steamers of other nationalities are obtaining 40s. per ton and upwards; whether he is aware that the freights earned and profits made by American and neutral-owned steamers are a handicap to British shipowners in their efforts to maintain British maritime supremacy; and if the Shipping Controller will take measures to deal with this situation?
The Shipping Controller is aware of the disparity between the freights which foreign ships earn and those at which British ships bring 1614 Government-owned grain to this country. The latter rates are fixed at the level referred to by my hon. Friend in the interests of the consumer and the Shipping Controller is not prepared to alter this policy.
§ Mr. HOUSTON
Is my hon. Friend aware of the enormous profits and great reserves that have been made by foreign shipowners, and will he explain how English ships are to compete against them under these circumstances?
My right hon. Friend is fully aware of the large profits which are made by foreign shipowners at the present time, but as long as a moderate profit is given the British shipowner, the interests of the consumer must be the first consideration.