§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the Turkish Government have given a contract to a British firm to build two "Dreadnoughts" without guns at a cost of £51 a ton; whether for an identical standard of vessel the British Government is paying £63 a ton; whether the difference in cost is due to a combine amongst the English makers of armoured plate; and, if so, whether the Admiralty propose taking any action in the matter with a view to safeguarding the interests of the British taxpayer?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
With regard to the first and second parts of the question, I must refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer which I gave on the 12th April to my hon. Friend the Member for Bedford. As to the remainder of the question, it is the Admiralty policy in the matter of shipbuilding that—with the exception of a small number of specialities manufactured abroad, a list of which is set forth on page 2 of the Return in the name of the hon. Member for Worcester, and dated the 8th June, 1910, all material should be made under inspection in this country. This policy restricts the area of competition, but it is the fact that, consistent with it, we have been able to make substantial re-846W ductions in the cost of armour plate within the past few years.