§ Mr. PETO
Asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the fact that, according to the tables given in the Blue Book on the Progress of Merchant Shipping, printed 13th June, 1910, the wages of first mates in vessels over 1,500 tons decreased by 5s. a month between 1890 and 1908, and there has in the same period been no appreciable increase in the wages of first mates on any size of vessel except those below 500 tons; that the wages of boatswains on vessels of 1,500 tons and over have decreased by sums varying from 2s. to 7s. per month, and have only increased on2080W vessels of under 500 tons; that the wages of carpenters have decreased on all sizes of vessels by sums varying from 2s. to 8s. per month except on vessels of over 2,000 tons, where they have increased by 3s. per month; and that between the years 1880 and 1908 the wages of engineers of all grades decreased on vessels of over 2,000 tons from 12s. to 44s. per month; whether he has any more recent figures than 1908 available, and, if so, whether they show any increase in the rates since 1908, and to what he attributes the stationary or falling wages of mates, engineers, and petty officers in the British merchant service during a period when the cost of living for the families on shore of the married men has materially increased; and what action, if any, he proposes to take in the matter.
The statements of the hon. Member with regard to the rates of wages up to 1908 are substantially correct. Later figures, bringing the statistics up to 1910, are to be found in the White Paper, Cd. 6180, published in May last. These do not show any general increase except in the case of first mates. The hon. Member must form his own conclusions as to the reason for the facts stated. The Board of Trade have no power to regulate the rates of wages paid to persons serving in the mercantile marine.