HC Deb 13 May 1926 vol 195 cc975-6
8. Rear-Admiral BEAMISH

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that the summary table shown on page 3 of the Blue Book, Command Paper No. 2590, Fleets (The British Empire and Foreign Countries) does not contain details as to the number of years over which the building programme of the different Powers was spread, and is he aware that this omission has led to misunderstanding; and can he make a statement in explanation?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Bridgeman)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The foreign portion of the Fleet Return is compiled for the benefit of the hon. Members when considering the shipbuilding programme in the Navy Estimates, and is an accurate and unbiassed statement of all the details known in the Admiralty at the date of compilation. The authorised programmes of the Powers extend over varying years. The periods of these programmes are shown in the body of the return and by footnotes in the summary, and, therefore, should lead to no misunderstanding. In the future it is proposed to show separately vessels which have been authorised or projected but for which no money has been voted, the date up to which a programme extends being given in the summary as well as in the text; footnotes, which are liable to be missed, will be reduced to a minimum. This should enable hon. Members to arrive at a true appreciation of the relative strength of foreign navies.