HC Deb 17 December 1936 vol 318 cc2627-8
63. Mr. R. GIBSON

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that 40 per cent. of the cost of building modern high-speed ships in Japan is being paid to builders by the Japanese Government; and whether, seeing that in the modern competitive conditions of shipping British shipping interests are unable to hold their own, he will, as a condition of assistance being given to British shipping interests by the Government, insist on public control of British shipping to safeguard the standards of British seamen and of the public served by our shipping?


I am aware that the Japanese Government are giving substantial financial assistance for the construction of high-speed merchant ships, but I cannot accept, and do not believe that the British shipping industry would endorse, the hon. Member's sweeping statement that British shipping interests are unable to hold their own. As regards the

Year.* Great Britain and Ireland. World total. Proportion of the total registered in Great Britain and Ireland.
Thousand tons gross. Thousand tons gross. Per cent.
1914–15 19,257 49,074 39.2
1919–20 16,555 50,886 32.5
1930–31 20,438 69,608 29.4
1931–32 20,303 70,131 29.0
1932–33 19,672 69,734 28.2
1933–34 18,701 67,920 27.5
1934–35 17,735 65,577 27.0
1935–36 17,400 64,886 26.8
1936–37 17,285 65,064 26.6
* The figures relate approximately to the middle of the year first-named.

Separate particulars relating to tramp tonnage are not available, nor are par-

last part of the question, the hon. and learned Member may rest assured that the Government are fully alive to the interests of British seamen and the public.


If the hon. Gentleman is aware of the position set out in the question what steps is he taking to meet it?


If British shipping interests are holding their own as successfully as the hon. Gentleman says, why is he subsidising them?


And why do they employ lascar labour?