§ 44. Mr. DALTON
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many capital ships and aircraft carriers, respectively, were actually scrapped in pursuance of the terms of the Washington Naval Conven- 17 tion of 1922; and what was the annual cost of the maintenance of those units in commission before they were scrapped?
§ The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Bridgeman)
Twenty capital ships of the British Empire were scrapped in pursuance of the terms of the Washington Naval Convention of 1922; one additional ship was transformed into an accommodation vessel in accordance with the terms of the Treaty, and a further ship which might have been retained as an accommodation vessel was in fact scrapped. The Washington Treaty did not require the scrapping of any aircraft carriers of the British Empire.
None of the British ships were in full commission at the time of the Washington negotiations; some were in reserve or special commission, and others were out of commission. The only figures available now regarding the cost of maintenance of these ships indicate that the approximate expenditure for those in reserve was at the rate of about £100,000 a year each, nearly half of that sum being for pay of officers and men; the expenditure on those ships that were paid off would be considerably less.
§ 47. Mr. DALTON
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many units of the projected Admiralty programme of capital ships and aircraft carriers, respectively, were abandoned in consequence of the Washington Naval Convention of 1922; what would have been the approximate total capital cost of the construction of such units; and what would have been the approximate annual cost of their maintenance in commission?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
Four capital ships, included in the 1921–22 building programme, were abandoned in consequence of the Washington Naval Convention; no projected aircraft carriers were so abandoned. The approximate total capital cost of construction of the four capital ships was estimated as £30,000,000, of which we saved all but about £2,000,000.
It is impossible to state with any real accuracy what would have been the annual cost of maintenance of these capital ships in commission had they been completed, but I am of opinion that, as a rough estimate, the annual cost of maintaining, at present prices, each of these capital ships in full commission would have been £500,000.