HC Deb 02 August 1939 vol 350 c2380
81. Mr. Ammon

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether any additions to the 1939 programme of new construction are contemplated?

Mr. Shakespeare

Yes, Sir. It has been decided to make considerable additions to the 1939 programme of new construction. These additions include 107 trawlers for mine-sweeping and antisubmarine duties, of which 20 will be specially built for the purpose and 87 will be purchased and converted. It is also proposed to construct 56 vessels of a whale-catcher type, some for service as patrol vessels and some for antisubmarine duties; 10 fleet minesweepers; six boom defence vessels, and one cable ship. The total number of vessels involved in the foregoing is 180. A floating dock to accommodate small craft up to 5.000 tons has also been purchased. Further additions are in contemplation, details of which I am not in a position to give at the moment but which will be announced as soon as possible. Provision for the expenditure which will be involved by these additions will be made in a Supplementary Estimate to be presented later in the financial year.

Mr. Ammon

Is it not intended to build any light cruisers?

Mr. Shakespeare

No, Sir, the hon. Member will recall that in the main our building programme is governed by the programme we announced at the beginning of the year, and we cannot depart from that without breaking the Naval Treaty.

Mr. White

Can the hon. Gentleman give any indication of the amount of the Supplementary Estimate?

Mr. Shakespeare

I should think it will be about £11,000,000.

Sir I. Albery

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether converted trawlers are likely to cost much more than new constructed naval trawlers?

Mr. Shakespeare

I should like notice of that question.