§ 40. Mr. MACLEAN
asked the President of the Board of Trade the name of the firm which has chartered the two Dutch steamers to load timber and grain in British Columbia for the United Kingdom; the rate and conditions of the chartering; whether any British shipping firm was approached with a view to chartering their ships for the above purposes; and, if so, what was the difference between the rates?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
These charters were made in the ordinary way on the open market and consequently British as well as foreign ships were considered. I am informed that the reason for chartering the Dutch ships was that no suitable British ships were available at the re- 1101 quired date to take the two cargoes. The hon. Member may be interested to know, that of the ships chartered for the organisation concerned this year to bring timber and grain from the Pacific coast, 46 have been British and five foreign.
§ 48. Mr. KIRKWOOD
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the conditions of the loans to Belfast shipbuilding firms which are guaranteed by the Ulster Government; if he is aware that this enables Belfast firms to submit preferential tenders for shipbuilding contracts in Great Britain; and, as this Ulster guarantee places other British firms at a disadvantage, will he take steps with a view to securing conditions of equality for loans and guarantees for all shipbuilding firms in the United Kingdom?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
The Loans Guarantee Acts of Northern Ireland give power to the Northern Irish Government to guarantee the principal of, and interest on, loans raised for the purpose of capital construction in Northern Ireland. I understand that applications for guarantees are investigated by an advisory committee, who, in making their recommendation to the Government, no doubt attach such conditions to the granting of a guarantee as are required by the circumstances of the particular case. With regard to the last part of the question, I am not clear what measures the hon. Member has in mind. If he is referring to the re-enactment of Trade Facilities legislation for shipbuilding generally in this country, I can only say that His Majesty's Government do not propose to adopt this course. In this connection I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on the 12th December to the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. N. Maclean).
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I am not referring to those credits, but my question referred to this, that the shipbuilders in Northern Ireland are getting a grant of money that goes from here because Northern Ireland is a necessitous area, and they are using that money to undercut the shipbuilders in this country, who are thus at a disadvantage. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"] I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that this places the shipbuilders in Belfast in an advantageous position in tendering for ships, so that 1102 the men in the British shipyards are being compelled to accept a lower standard of life as a result of what is going on in Belfast?
§ Mr. D. D. REID
Is it not a fact that no loans have been made to Belfast for shipbuilding either by the Northern Government or by anyone else?
§ Mr. MACLEAN
Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that this Government can at least make an inquiry into this with a view to—
§ 35. Mr. ALAN TODD (for Mr. CHORLTON)
asked the President of the Board of Trade if, when making arrangements for the assistance of British shipping, he will give special consideration to cotton textile exports to India and raw cotton imports from that country?