22. Mr. David Adams
asked the President of the Board of Trade the financial terms which are applied to vessels of the Mercantile Marine requisitioned by the Government?
§ The Minister of Shipping (Sir John Gilmour)
I have been asked to reply. Rates of hire appropriate to the conditions of service will be paid in respect of mercantile vessels which have been requisitioned. It is hoped that these and all other financial matters connected with the requisitioning of ships will be settled by agreement with the owners, but if agreement is not reached, compensation will be payable under the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939.
Will the Minister say that the rates to be paid will be similar to those quoted for requisitioned tonnage on the open market at the Baltic Exchange?
§ Sir J. Gilmour
As the Act lays down, compensation will be paid, and it is hoped that this will be done by agreement. If anything should arise where agreement is not found possible, there is a tribunal to which appeal can be made.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any rates have already been fixed and, if so, when an agreement is reached will it be retrospective?
§ Sir J. Gilmour
In the meantime I understand advances have been made to shipowners without prejudice to the rate ultimately to be settled.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Will the Minister see to it that no individuals make huge fortunes out of shipping as they did in the last war?
§ Mr. G, Griffiths
Did the Minister say "Yes." I did not hear what he said. On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker, may we know what was the answer of the Minister for Shipping. He sat down, and I did not hear him?