HC Deb 08 June 1937 vol 324 cc1572-3
40. Mr. Kelly

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of vessels ordered from Germany since March, 1935, by British firms; and whether any vessels for British firms are known to be under construction in German shipyards at the present time?

Mr. Stanley

There are no official statistics of shipbuilding orders executed abroad for British owners, but according to the returns of the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen, the number of steam and motor vessels (including fishing vessels and whalers) of 100 tons gross and over of recent German construction which have been registered in the United Kingdom since March, 1935, is 44 vessels totalling 128,053 gross tons. I have no official information regarding vessels now under construction in German yards, but according to information in the Press it would appear that eight vessels of 53,900 tons gross are at present building in Germany for United Kingdom firms.

Mr. Kelly

Is there any information in the Department as to the firms who are ordering these vessels from Germany?

Mr. Stanley

I cannot give the House the exact particulars of the firms. Hon. Members will, I am sure, realise that circumstances differ as between individual firms, but I think the House would like to know that as far as I can gather, although I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the figure, the amount now building in German yards is only about 50 per cent. of that building a year ago.

Mr. Lawson

Why should British ship-owners have ships built in Germany when there are men idle in every shipyard in this country? Is Germany a special area?

Mr. Stanley

The whole House will wish, as I do, that all these ships were being built over here, and I can assure the House that I will take every step in my power to pursuade owners to build ships here. Hon. Members will realise, however, that circumstances arise owing to currency and other restrictions where the owner has no option.

Mr. Dalton

Are any shipowners who are employing German instead of British shipbuilders receiving subsidies from the British Government?

Mr. Stanley

I should like notice of that question.

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