13. Miss Ward
asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied that local authorities are carrying out the recommendations of the circular issued to them in May last to make use of British shipping?
§ Mr. Elliot
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chertsey (Commander Marsden) on 20th July last.
Arising out of that reply, and not knowing what the previous answer was, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he receives reports periodically from the local authorities?
§ Mr. Elliot
The answer was given as recently as 20th July, and was to the effect that 173 local authorities had replied to the circular and that they were all sympathetic to the proposal, and that 164 had undertaken to include the necessary stipulation in their form of tender.
36. Miss Ward
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will immediately communicate with all Government Departments and obtain assurances that as from 7th August full use will be made by them of British coastal shipping.
§ The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Oliver Stanley)
Communications have been addressed to all Government Departments and, through the Ministry of Health and the Scottish Office, to local authorities, recommending that, whenever possible, all contracts in respect of goods to be carried by sea should contain a clause stipulating for shipment in British vessels.
Has my right hon. Friend seen the report of an Air Ministry official which says that the putting into operation of this agreement depends on suitable contract forms being prepared and which refers to the exhaustion of the stocks of forms already in the hands of the Department, and does he think that is a suitable way of dealing with the suggestions made?
§ Mr. Stanley
Yes, Sir, I did see that report, and I made immediate inquiries of the Air Ministry. I am informed that they cannot trace any official having made such a statement, and that if it was made, it is entirely incorrect, because in fact all new contracts now being made contain this clause.
In view of the fact that so many Departments are concerned with shipping problems, will my right hon. 2814 Friend consider the advisability of appointing a Secretary of Shipping under his guidance?
40. Miss Ward
asked the Minister of Transport, whether he is satisfied that only British ships are employed for coastwise transit for contracts for which his Department is responsible.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. Bernays)
It is a condition of all contracts entered into in respect of road and bridge works for which my Department is responsible that all materials or plant which are delivered by water-borne coastal traffic must be carried in British ships (so far as such ships are available) unless the prior approval of my right hon. Friend to the use of a foreign vessel has been obtained.. Such approval has never been sought.