HC Deb 14 October 1952 vol 505 cc153-68

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Studholme.]

9.39 p.m.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I want to take the opportunity tonight of raising some points for discussion about one of our major industries, the shipbuilding industry, which vitally affects my own constituency, because for the last 100 years Sunderland has rightly claimed to be the largest shipbuilding town in the world.

When shipbuilding has prospered Sunderland has prospered; when shipbuilding has slumped, Sunderland has been paralysed by the misery of mass unemployment. I am sure that the Civil Lord would agree at any rate with this, that whatever the depressions which this great industry has faced in the past and whatever difficulties it may face in the future, the hard work, enterprise and initiative of the shipbuilding industry is equal to any in this country.

The tragedy in the past has been that time after time the industry has faced a position in which its workers have been neglected and wasted. In Sunderland at times we have had nine out of ten of the shipbuilding workers unemployed. Consequently, against this background, and in spite of the present prosperity and the present all-time-record order book which the industry has, the shipbuilding industry must always remain fearful of the threat of depression.

It is not surprising therefore that when the Lloyd's returns for the second quarter this year showed that only 206,000 gross tons had been commenced in that quarter—the lowest figure for any quarter since the war—and, moreover, when the Lloyd's returns revealed that that represented only 19 per cent. of the world tonnage, against the 40 per cent. of the world tonnage which was being constructed in 1951, the industry felt some apprehension and concern.

The shipbuilders themselves have attributed this to the steel allocation scheme and the working of that scheme. May I say at once that the shipbuilders have not been misled by the Conservative Party? They accepted the re-imposition of controls as being absolutely necessary. In fact, Mr. Ramsay Gebbie, for whom I have the greatest respect, and who was at the time President of the Shipbuilding Conference, said that When a basic raw material is in seriously short supply, there is an obvious need in the national interest to determine the best use of what is available. That is a proposition which I accept and which I hope, in the light of experience, the Conservative Party will begin to accept.

But what the Shipbuilding Conference complained about was that, although they accepted the necessity for an allocation scheme, the shipbuilding industry was not near enough to the front of the queue; and they claim that they are receiving about 50 per cent. short in the steel they require to make full use of the yards.

Although the Members for the shipbuilding constituencies in the North-East were a little upset that we were not notified of his visit, I am sure we were all very pleased when the Civil Lord came to the North-East to visit the yards on the Wear and the Tyne, and when the Civil Lord met reporters we were happy to learn through them that the allocation for the fourth quarter is to be 8 per cent. higher than that for the previous quarter.

But, perhaps like Oliver Twist, I say that is not enough, and the industry says that is not enough. It seems to me that it does no more than reflect the improved steel supply position and is no effort to meet the fundamental objection of the industry to the present level of allocations. I admit at once that at Newcastle the Civil Lord claimed that we could now build at a higher rate than at any time since the war, but I think he was rather optimistic. I think the industry will still be faced with the problem of keeping heavy capital equipment under-employed with the consequent rise in costs and short fall in production at a time—and this is the significant thing—when our percentage of the total world shipbuilding is falling.

I therefore put these questions to the Civil Lord. In dealing with the allocation, is he satisfied that the industry is holding at least eight to nine weeks steel stocks in hand? I mention that figure because I remember that when I met Sir Stafford Cripps in 1948 he regarded this as a minimum. We were inclined to agree that this could be accepted as an absolute minimum. I ask the Civil Lord, what is the stock position in the industry at present?

Moreover, it has been a constant complaint of the shipbuilders this year that the steelmakers have been unable to honour to the full extent the authorisations. This is an entirely new situation. I remember again that when we met Sir Stafford Cripps in 1948 he revealed to us that in the previous year the shipbuilders had received 23 per cent. over and above their allocation, and it is a fact that on previous allocation systems the shipbuilders have always somehow or another contrived to get well above their allocation.

Another real complaint made by the shipbuilders is this question of out-of-sequence deliveries. This is a vitally important matter to an assembling and prefabricating industry—to an industry which is prefabricating on the scale the shipbuilding industry is. The Civil Lord, I know, recognises this is a problem, because at Newcastle he said he would take the problem of irregular deliveries back with him to the Admiralty and see what he could do about it on his return to the Admiralty.

I notice that in its Supplement yesterday "The Times" still deals with this question of deliveries being made out of sequence, and I should like to ask the Civil Lord whether any progress has been made in overcoming what appears to be a very real complaint of shipbuilders, not only about getting enough steel, but that the steel supplies are coming in the wrong sequence, which contributes to increasing costs and prejudices them in the world market.

So much for the steel allocation. I want to raise a few more points on the immediate prospects of the shipbuilding industry. I would say at once that it is very dangerous to generalise from a single quarter's returns in shipbuilding, but I think that the Civil Lord will have to agree, at any rate as far as the second quarter of this year goes, that that quarter shows an appreciable fall in the production rate and that although, as far as I am concerned, the figures for the third quarter are not yet available, such figures as are available show that there has been a further and continued retardation of the production rate. If that continues it is bound to prejudice the industry in its present real enough difficulties.

One of our leading shipbuilders said fairly recently that the delays resulting from steel shortage may be the reason why some shipowners are having new tonnage built on the Continent. I should like to know whether this is happening. If it is happening it is certainly a most disturbing factor, because it is happening at a time when, quite clearly, the shipping laid down for export is less than last year, the shipping under construction for export is appreciably less than last year, and when shipping completed is also substantially less than last year's.

In fact, if we turn to the Trade and Navigation Returns they reveal, whether we pay attention to quantity or to value, that there has been a very serious fall in the value of the exports of shipping made by this country. In fact, those accounts show that in the first eight months this year compared with the corresponding eight months of last year we have earned £10 million less in foreign currency—over the past eight months.

I should like to draw the Civil Lord's attention particularly to the fact that our most important customer since 1945 has been Norway. In fact, at times Norway has been importing shipping from us at six times the rate of any other country in the world. But, within the first eight months of this year our exports to Norway have fallen by no less than £4,500,000. I would ask the Civil Lord, what does this mean? Does it mean that we can no longer depend to the same extent on the Norwegian market for our exports in shipbuilding? Because if it does mean that, it means that we shall have to face aggravating difficulties in the export field. Whatever the position regarding the export of shipping to Norway, I think the Civil Lord would be bound to agree that the signs are ominous today, when both the volume and the value of our export of ships is falling and at the same time the percentage of British shipbuilding in the total world tonnage is also showing a tendency to fall.

In July I asked the Minister of Labour what effect the heavy reduction on freight rates was likely to have on employment in the shipbuilding industry. The reply then was that the fall in rates had not reduced the demand for new tonnage. In April, 1951, our freight rates were twice the rates in 1948, but by June of this year those rates had been halved. In other words, they were back to the 1948 level, when a good deal of concern was being expressed in the shipbuilding industry.

Since June, the freight rates have fallen to about one-third of what they were in April, 1951; in other words, the freight rates now are only about three-quarters what they were in 1948. This is very disturbing, not only for the shipping industry but also for the shipbuilding industry, and I should like to know from the Civil Lord what effect he estimates this drastic fall in freight rates will have on the shipbuilding industry, and how real it makes the present enormous order books. Personally, I express this point of view. I think he is being far too optimistic in anticipating that next year, 1953, we shall be able to obtain a production of 1,400,00 gross tons a year.

Another point I should like to raise—and I do so with some diffidence, because I appreciate that it is a very difficult thing to be dogmatic about—is this. What has been the impact of the re-armament programme on our shipbuilding industry? How far is the impact of the re-armament programme the explanation of our present figures? On 9th July the First Lord, in reply to a Question, said: The total amount of steel allocated for merchant shipbuilding in the Sunderland area for the third quarter of this year is about 12 per cent. less than the corresponding allocation in the second quarter, and represents approximately 60 per cent. to 65 per cent. of the total demand for steel for merchant ships made by the shipbuilders in the area. If, however, account is taken of the separate allocation made in the first quarter for certain re-armament contracts on which work is about to begin, the allocation is approximately the same as for the second quarter and only slightly less than that for the first quarter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th July, 1952; Vol. 503, c. 92.] I raise this question with some diffidence, because I recognise at once that one of the complaints we have always made in Sunderland is that we have not had a sufficient volume of work from the Admiralty, and that has in the past contributed to our depressions.

We welcome, of course, the placing of the minesweeper orders in Sunderland. At the same time, I wonder whether the Civil Lord is paying sufficient attention to the future of the Wear yards. The Sunderland yards more than any other yards in the country have always depended almost entirely on merchant shipbuilding. I agree it is that reliance which has made us particularly vulnerable in times of depression, but today we have this enormous pressure on the yards because of their order books, with at the same time the drastic collapse in the freight charges, which, I believe, we must all concede has dramatically changed the immediate prospects regarding world shipping; and at this time the First Lord admits that, as far as our yards are concerned, they are only being utilised to the extent of 60 per cent. or 65 per cent.

This is happening at a time when our proportion of the total world shipbuilding tonnage is falling. Although I raise this point with some diffidence, I should have thought that this was an occasion on which we should pay very real heed to something which the Prime Minister said some time ago. I think that in this particular context we should, at any rate, re-look at the question of the priority of exports.

I would concede at once the proper and legitimate bias of the Admiralty towards defence work. I would concede that defence work is, in the present circumstances, a top national priority. At the same time, there is also the vital problem today of retaining our position in the export market with regard to shipbuilding, especially as I think that most people would fear that in the present circumstances this position may attain for only a few months. In a few months, if the slump in shipping continues we may find the shipbuilding industry facing a very different position regarding export orders. I appeal therefore to the Civil Lord to consider the possibility of regarding in the present circumstances shipping for export as a top, even an absolute, priority.

A point which I believe only applies to the export of shipping is that not only does the export of shipping directly contribute to our present balance of payments crisis, but, in the case of shipping, the export is almost entirely to what I might call the democratic powers and, in fact, although we are exporting shipping, we are building a mercantile marine which if we were landed in war would, as in 1939, be again at our service. I think that exceptional position relating to the export of shipbuilding should be borne in mind when we are balancing one consideration against another. We should then be prepared perhaps to go further in this case than we might feel we should go in other cases.

In conclusion, I want to say a few words about the long-term prospects of the shipbuilding industry. I know that today there is this very understandable emphasis on tankers. I do not want to make a point about the unbalance of the skilled trades in the industry. I think that we have to meet this tanker demand. The position today, however, is that over one-half of the work in the British yards is on tankers. We are contributing 44 per cent. of the total tanker tonnage under construction.

We talk about an oil hungry world, but how near are we getting towards meeting tanker capacity in the world? Once we do that the only question we are concerned with then is the replacement of the tanker fleet. This is peculiarly a British question because we are so heavily involved in the construction of tankers. I should like to know whether enough thought has been given to the impact that the attaining of capacity in tankers will have upon the British shipbuilding industry, and what steps we are taking in advance to prepare the yards against it. How far, for instance, are we losing, because of our concentration on tanker work, other work competitively in the world position which I have just described? This is no more than a part of what, after all, is a much wider question, that of the future of the shipbuilding industry.

It being Ten o' Clock, the Motion for the Adjournment of the House lapsed, without Question put.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Kaberry.]

Mr. Willey

I have never hesitated to say that my opinion is that the shipbuilding industry will not be able to maintain the present employment indefinitely. I agree that since the peak employment figure of 250,000 in 1945 there has been a very appreciable run down; more than 50,000 men have left the industry, and it was very much to the credit of the Labour Government that that was done without any substantial unemployment. In spite of that, the industry is still employing rather more than 200,000 men in the yards, over and above which there are at present 7,500 unemployed.

I do not think it can be assumed that the industry will be able to provide continuous and stable employment for all these highly skilled men in the industry. I should like the Civil Lord to tell us what is being done about the fundamental problem in the shipbuilding industry of seeking a level of continuous stable employment, maintaining and preserving a capacity which may be required in national emergency, and maintaining in the limited localities where shipbuilding is carried on skilled workers who are redundant in the industry, whether the alternative employment is to be carried on in the yards preserved on a maintenance basis or in other work in the neighbourhood of the yards.

Incidentally, I should like to know what the National Shipbuilders Securities Limited think about this. They are still in existence and still receiving a levy. What are their plans about this? This problem is fundamental to the industry and I do not believe that it should be neglected now because, very happily for all of us, the yards have continued a very high level of employment and activity since 1945.

I concede at once that this is a far wider responsibility than that of the Civil Lord or the Admiralty. It is an industrial question of vital importance to both our national well-being and our national defence. I hope therefore that the Civil Lord can at any rate assure us that he will use his influence to ensure that this matter is considered and that plans are formulated while we still have good time.

10.3 p.m.

Colonel Sir Leonard Ropner (Barkston Ash)

The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. F. Willey) has raised this matter in a very moderate speech and has dealt with matters of very great importance, not only to shipbuilders but also to the nation. I am grateful that he has given me an opportunity of touching on one aspect which he has perhaps overlooked.

Ultimately shipbuilding depends on shipowning. I do not think I am going too far when I say that the comparative prosperity or depression in British shipyards will ultimately depend on the prosperity of British shipowners. Certainly tonight I admit very freely the importance under present circumstances of encouraging the export of ships, for the shipbuilding industry can make a very valuable contribution to our export trade, but those of us who know something about the shipowning side of the industry are extremely apprehensive of the very large increase in the mercantile marines of the potential, and, indeed, present, competitors of this country.

I do not think I shall be out of order—but I am certainly touching a topic which is outside the remarks of the hon. Member for Sunderland, North—when I say that it is really a matter of direct taxation which is handicapping the British mercantile marine today and rendering the British mercantile marine as a whole obsolescent.

There has appeared in the Press during the last few weeks, indeed I think within the last few days, some startling figures with regard to the increase in the average age of British ships, in particular of the dry cargo carriers of the British Mercantile Marine. It has not been easy during the last few years for shipowners to make convincing speeches pointing out that they are suffering under a great handicap because of the high rate of taxation. The reason for that has been that freight rates have been extremely high and profits have been large. Nevertheless, those high rates of profit have been earned by our foreign competitors, many of whom have been charged a greatly lower rate of direct taxation than the British shipowner.

That is the only point I wish to make, and I hope I may be forgiven for doing so. I have certainly done it briefly, and for the second time I have pointed out to the House that in an industry which is competitive in a world wide sense, British shipowners are going to have quite soon—I agree with the hon. Member when he says there is a red light showing for the future—a very different kind of competition. They are going to be in competition with completely modern ships which will compete successfully in the freight market when it becomes depressed, as I feel it may be quite shortly.

10.8 p.m.

Lieut.-Commander S. L. C. Maydon (Wells)

I should like to add my plea very briefly to that of the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), particularly on the subject of steel allocations to the shipyards. Fairly recently there have been quite a number of cases which have been brought to my notice where the actual allocations to various shipyards have not been met by deliveries for various reasons. Admittedly, those cases have been somewhat isolated, and that state of affairs cannot be said to be general. The industry as a whole has received an increase by 8 per cent., which was the increase in allocations announced for the last quarter of this year.

The argument which is frequently levelled at the shipbuilding industry in this country is that the conversion rate for the steel is not so high in the industry. That means that it does not earn such big money per ton of steel as do other smaller industries making rather more specialised equipment out of steel. Of course, that is a valid argument. Naturally a great many tons of steel go into ships, and the price paid, although high, is not as high per ton as the price paid, for instance, for machine tools where, of course, the tecnical skill applied to a smaller quantity of steel is a fraction higher in proportion to the skill generally to be applied to building ships consuming large quantities of steel.

Against that argument one can say not only that the shipbuilding industry is an extremely valuable exporting industry, but also it is an extremely valuable earning industry of foreign currency. Once machine tools or other technical equipment built of steel are sold to foreign countries they cease to earn money on the British account, whereas British ships built in British shipyards are earning money on the British account throughout the whole of their lifetime. That is the difference, and I feel that is a strong argument in favour of giving our ships a better bite of what is available. We know full well that steel is short, and that a great many industries require it, but I certainly feel that British shipyards are not getting what they should get, and I have seen a considerable amount of evidence bearing that out.

Not only is this a question of earning our living but of long-term insurance, just as the re-armament programme in general is long-term insurance. Ships are highly valuable in peace-time but they are absolutely invaluable in war-time. For that reason we should see to it, as an insurance policy, that British shipyards get a better deal over the allocation of steel.

10.11 p.m.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Wingfield Digby)

The House is grateful to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) for giving us an opportunity to discuss this very important industry. I am glad that we have a chance to think about it on the first day after our Summer Recess. The hon. Member raised a number of points, and I shall try to answer them one by one, but I must warn him straight away that the question of freights is not for me to answer. It is not a matter for the Admiralty, which is concerned only with shipbuilding and not with the freighting of existing ships.

The hon. Gentleman set great store by the actual tonnage commenced, but he is probably attaching too much importance to it. In shipbuilding the trends are not short-term but long-term, and what we have to look at is not the figures for one quarter but the figures for a year. When we look back we find that the situation is not nearly so depressing as, perhaps unwittingly, the hon. Gentleman would have had us believe. He has accused me of being too optimistic, but I suggest that perhaps he is being a little too pessimistic. I am sure he did not intend that to be the case.

I must make it clear that it is not the policy of the Admiralty to interfere with the sequence in which shipbuilders fulfill their orders. They receive their orders in a definite sequence from ship owners, whether they be British or foreign, and it is not the policy of the Admiralty to say, "You are to fulfil this order before that one." To do so—I think it was implicit in some of the things which the hon. Gentleman advocated—would be a very large departure of policy which would have very far-reaching consequences.

During the recent visits I have paid to Clydeside and the North East coast I was struck by the progress in modernisation and prefabrication, both of which are of great importance for the future of our shipbuilding industry. In Sunderland itself I had the pleasure of visiting three different yards, and I was able to see that they were no exception to the progress in modernisation and prefabrication. I was very impressed with the enterprise shown in the new docks they are building.

There is no doubt of the very great importance of the shipbuilding industry, which is making an extremely important contribution to our export drive, not only directly but indirectly as well, as was quite rightly said by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wells (Lieut.-Commander Maydon). Ships built for home owners are helping very much in regard to foreign currency. In fact, it is true to say that until quite recently any tanker of reasonable size built in this country for anyone in a soft currency area was saving us no less than two million dollars. That was saved by each tanker completed in British yards and it is obvious to anyone that it is making a tremendous contribution towards solving our present problems.

The hon. Member went on to deal with employment and referred to some of the figures. I think we can say that employment has been steady in the industry despite the steel shortage. It is true that there have been one or two slight fluctuations—for example, in the case of his own town—but there is an obvious explanation in each of those cases and certainly in that case. From 1950 onwards the labour employed on warship construction and repairs increased steadily on account of re-armament and it is now over 22,000 out of a total employed of 157,700. The hon. Member also referred to the importance of conserving skilled labour in the shipyards. I can assure him that this is one of the things which we at the Admiralty have constantly in mind when considering these problems.

Then he went on to deal with steel allocations. Of course, we all wish that there was unlimited steel. In May, 1950, steel allocations were discarded but they had to be reintroduced in February of this year because of the shrinkage in steel production caused by shortage of scrap. Allocations of steel for industrial use are settled quarterly by the Government. The Admiralty is given an allocation for merchant shipbuilding and is responsible for its administration. Admiralty policy is to divide the steel fairly among all shipbuilding firms in relation to their programmes and their requirements for each quarter. It is the responsibility of the shipbuilders to acquire the steel which they have been allocated. The Admiralty are always ready to help where there are difficulties in acquiring this steel because no rationing scheme is perfect and, of course, there have been a few cases where there have been difficulties of this kind.

Another difficulty is in the sequence of delivery, but once again this is matched very closely with the actual pattern of steel production, and the Admiralty have been in touch with the Ministry of Supply on these questions. The scheme has not been altered since its inception, but we are trying to smooth out these difficulties as they occur. If we look at the figures, we find that up to the end of June last the total allocations have matched up exactly with the total deliveries to the shipbuilders so that over the whole picture the scheme appears to be working fairly well. The hon. Member asked about the actual stocks held in the industry, but I regret that I have no up-to-date figures to give him.

Now we come to the question of future allocations. As he has said, the allocation for the current quarter was raised by 8 per cent. over that for the third quarter. I cannot say very much at the moment, further than that the Government intend to increase the allocation of steel for shipbuilding as additional supplies become available. If they do so, it is hoped to make a further increase in the allocation for the first quarter of 1953, because the need for steel in the shipbuilding industry is fully appreciated by the Government.

Then the hon. Member spoke about the short-term prospects for the industry. When we see that the order books are full for roughly four years ahead, we can only say that those prospects are good. He asked whether there was any significance in the apparent fall for building for export. In point of fact, building for direct exports since 1948 has been about 33 per cent. In 1951, completions for export were 48 per cent. of the total, due to a large number of tankers which happened to be completed for foreign owners in that year.

With regard to the share of world shipbuilding, it is true that the percentage of ships built in this country has decreased slightly, from 48.8 to 37.7. This has been due, of course, to the rehabilitation of foreign yards, not only the Japanese and those in Germany, but other yards on the Continent, which were damaged during the war. This rehabilitation was bound to come.

Direct exports are well maintained in the order book, and the hon. Member was wrong in drawing the conclusion that they were falling off very much. Of the ships under construction, 33 per cent. are for overseas owners, but not less than 44 per cent. of those on order but not yet laid down are for overseas owners. It will be seen, therefore, that the percentage to be built for foreign owners is increasing rather than the reverse.

On the other hand, it is questionable whether building for export is more advantageous than building for the home market. The Economic Survey for 1947, for example, classes shipbuilding as of equal importance to the export industries. It is certainly open to doubt as to whether it is more advantageous to build for home owners or for foreign owners. The figures I have quoted, which show the dollar saving in the building of tankers, bear out this point of view.

I assure the hon. Member that the Admiralty endeavour to do everything they can to look after the merchant shipbuilding industry. Warship work is relatively small compared with the total, and is integrated with the merchant programme. Therefore, to cancel, as, I think, the hon. Member suggested, orders for the Navy to make way for export orders, would not necessarily help the shipyards.

The long-term prospects for the industry are, of course, difficult to assess. As far as tankers are concerned, I think that the prospects are good. Of the ships under construction, 55 per cent. are tankers, whereas 57 per cent. of the ships which are on order but not laid down are tankers—a slightly higher percentage. The world tanker fleets are already large, and the replacement factor alone would seem to hold out good prospects for future orders. As for maintaining capacity in the industry to meet national emergency, I assure the hon. Member that the Admiralty have given this point full consideration, and will continue to do so.

The hon. Member made a short reference to National Shipbuilders Securities, Limited. I can assure him that on this point there has been no change of policy from that of the last Government.

My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Barkston Ash (Sir L. Ropner) referred to the question of ships for foreign owners and made what I thought a very good point. I am glad he did make it. It was that the question of ships for export cuts several ways. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wells (Lieut.-Commander Maydon) mentioned cases where there had been failure to honour allocations. I am afraid there have been a few cases owing to the shortage of scrap. That has led to difficulties in a few cases, but they have been taken up and in most cases the difficulties have been ironed out.

My hon. and gallant Friend spoke of the conversion rate in shipbuilding. It is quite true that that is not as high as in some industries and, of course, when we are building as many tankers as we are, the conversion rate is lower than it would be in the case, for example, of passenger liners. Nevertheless, despite that, the importance of the industry is fully appreciated, although the conversion factor may not be so high as that of some others. He went on to say that he did not think the industry was getting what it should, but I think it has had a fair crack of the steel which is actually available.

In conclusion, the outlook for the industry is, I think, undoubtedly good. We have record order books. The order book for merchant ships at present stands at 6.775 million gross tons of which only 1.922 million are under construction. This leaves a balance of 4.853 million gross tons which represents the tonnage which is on order but has not actually been started. As many of the smaller yards have not such long order books as the larger yards, this means that the larger yards are booked up for a number of years ahead.

The average annual output of new merchant tonnage in the last three years has been 1.359 million gross tons and the outlook for 1952 seems likely to be about that figure. When more steel is available the output should be considerably increased. It is the policy of the Government to ensure that the industry is maintained at a stable and healthy level of activity and to this end the Shipbuilding Advisory Committee, consisting of representatives of the employers and trade unions and the shipbuilding and shipping industries under an independent chairman, Sir Graham Cunningham, keeps a continuous watch over the state of the industry. I think the House can rest assured that all is well with the industry and that it is making a stable contribution to our economic problems.

Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-nine Minutes past Ten o' Clock.