HC Deb 06 January 1916 vol 77 cc1127-8W

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether a large number of British vessels are available; and, if so, whether steps will be taken to commandeer a sufficient number of steamers to carry food-stuffs from the Argentine, Canadian, and American ports; whether he is aware that this proceeding would reduce freights and also lower the price of meat and corn to consumers in Great Britain and Ireland; and (2) whether he is aware that a vessel of 5,000 tons is liable to pay £31,000 freight from Portland, Oregon, to Dublin; and whether he can suggest any arrangement tending to reduce freight charges?


The increase in freights, which is due mainly to the scarcity of tonnage, is a question which has been and is being very carefully considered by the Government, and such measures as appeared possible have been taken. A number of ships have already been requisitioned to bring supplies of food-stuffs to this country.