HC Deb 06 July 1955 vol 543 cc1117-8
12. Mr. Callaghan

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will introduce legislation to bring up to date the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir.

Mr. Callaghan

Has the right hon. Gentleman any plans for bringing up to date that Act, which is now some sixty years old, in view of the fact that the National Union of Seamen has made plans about it, and in view of the fact that there is obvious dissatisfaction in the Merchant Service?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am always prepared to consider representations that the National Union of Seamen or other responsible bodies may make to me, but as to bringing up to date this sixty-year old Measure the hon. Gentleman will, no doubt, be aware that since its enactment it has been amended on no fewer than 40 occasions, five times since the war.

Mr. Knox Cunningham

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there is hardship for dependants in the cases of life claims under the present low statutory limit of liability?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I will gladly look into any further point which my hon. Friend has in mind on that matter.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the National Union of Seamen had a Bill prepared to make this reform many years ago, that his predecessor had the relevant problems under consideration a long time, and that the present state of affairs is causing industrial unrest at the ports? Will he look into the matter and take energetic steps to rectify it?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I have no doubt at all that the National Union of Seamen, which is a union with which, I am glad to say, I have very good relations, is quite capable of putting its point of view to me from time to time, as I am glad to say, it does.

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