HC Deb 31 May 1932 vol 266 cc975-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the fact that the figures issued by his Department relating to vessels entering and leaving British ports are based on net register tonnage; and whether he will consider the advisability of altering the basis so as to show the actual tonnage of goods carried inwards and outwards, and the proportions conveyed by British and foreign vessels, respectively?


The possibility of obtaining information as to the actual tonnage of cargo landed or shipped in this country has previously been considered, but it would not appear that the value of the information obtained would justify the additional work and expense involved on the part of both the shipping industry and the Government Departments concerned.


In view of the controversy, with which the Minister is familiar, as to the extent to which foreign tonnage is engaged in the coasting trade, is it not possible for these figures to be simplified and issued on a different basis—in a more simple and reasonable form?


I should be quite ready to consider the form in which the statistics are issued, but it would not be possible to work them out on a cargo basis without adding greatly to the labour of the Department and the shipping companies.