§ 63. Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount guaranteed since November, 1923, under the Trade Facilities Act for shipbuilding in England and Scotland, respectively, and for the purchase of plant and material for the construction of vessels at Belfast?
The figures are as follow:—
These guarantees were for ships other than ordinary tramp steamers or involving some special circumstances.
£ For shipbuilding in England 262,500 For shipbuilding in Scotland 4,118,000 For the purchase in Great Britain of plant and material for construction of vessels at Belfast 1,450,000 Total 5,830,500
These sums are in addition to £7,089,000 guaranteed before November, 1923.
§ Mr. SAMUEL
Have any instructions been given to the Advisory Committee to keep within the amount that my hon. Friend suggested when we debated this matter on the Bill'? He gave an undertaking that the amount would be kept within certain limits
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Is it the considered policy of the Government and of the Advisory Committee to refuse to increase this sum or to make any grants for tramp steamers, in addition to the steamers in respect of which grants have already been made?
There is no question of having reached the limit of the amount available for guarantee. There is still an ample margin on which to work, and it is for the Committee to say whether further shipbuilding guarantees are to be given. With regard to the second supplementary question, the Treasury cannot directly advise the Committee, 2463 but I have no hesitation in saying that, in any event, even if far more shipping guarantees were given, they would still fall far short of the figure mentioned in debate here.
§ Mr. SAMUEL
Are we to understand that the undertaking given by the hon. and gallant Gentleman has been conveyed as a request to the Advisory Committee?
Yes. The position was that the Advisory Committee had necessarily to take into account the views expressed by hon. Members in this House, but they have also to use their discretion in the matter.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Is it a fact that the Advisory Committee have refused recently to grant any sums of money towards the buildings of new ships, with particular relation to tramp steamers?
§ Sir GRATTAN DOYLE.
If it is a sound policy to give guarantees in other directions, why is it not a sound policy to give guarantees in regard to shipbuilding?
It is true that the Advisory Committee has been against the building of additional tramp steamers, but it is entirely wrong to say that additional guarantees for shipping have not been given. Since the present Government has been in office, approximately £6,000,000 have been so guaranteed.