HC Deb 15 November 1927 vol 210 cc798-800
3. Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has any figures showing the present employment of foreigners in the British mercantile marine; and whether these figures show any decrease in the number of foreigners so employed?


I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer I gave yesterday to the hon. Member for Southampton a copy of which I am sending him. It will be seen from that answer that the percentage of foreigners in the British mercantile marine has remained at about the same level—from 5 per cent, to 6 per cent.—during the past few years.

4. Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade the present figures of unemployment amongst British seamen, officers and men, respectively, in all branches of the mercantile marine?


I have been asked to reply. At 24th October, 1927, the number of men insured under the Unemployment Insurance Acts classified as belonging to the shipping service (including the staffs of shipping companies) and recorded as unemployed was 20,837. This figure includes officers so far as they are insured; separate figures for officers are not available.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

May I ask the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the answer which I have just received, that 21,000 seamen are unemployed, whether he will take some steps further to reduce the number of foreigners employed, and will he consider doing something in the matter with the Shipping Conference?


I have often explained to the House that if any active steps are to be taken by the Ministry of Labour and my own Department, they will be to keep the number of foreigners to the minimum.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

May I ask what those active steps are, because the last time that I raised this matter the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade said that he had no powers.


He has no powers actually to prohibit other than those conferred by the Merchant Shipping Act. Obviously, we can only exercise our statutory powers so far as the Statute goes. On the other hand, we can exercise very definite powers of repatriating aliens who are taken on ships at other ports and sent here, and those powers are being most stringently exercised.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what was the response of the shipowners to the appeal of the Board of Trade that where British seamen are unemployed they should be employed instead of Lascar's and Arab seamen?


That question should be put down.