HC Deb 08 December 1919 vol 122 cc943-5W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shipping Controller whether he will lay upon the Table a full Report setting forth the daily routine of instruction at the Gravesend school for sea training, including a statement of the subjects taught; whether any regular provision has been made throughout for the teaching of swimming; and if so, what swimming test was required of the youths so taught before they went to sea; what proportion of the pupils at the school were trained as stokers, where were they trained, and what other instruction did they receive; whether youths so trained signed an agreement to serve in the British Mercantile Marine for two years; whether any record is kept to show how many voyages such youths have made and how many of them are now actually unemployed; what provision is made for the certainty of employment of boys educated at the school; and whether any provision is made for the recreation of the youths under training, or any supervision exercised over them when on shore and not under instruction?

Colonel L. WILSON

I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the First Annual Report of the Organisation Committee of the Sea School, which fully describes the work of the institution.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shipping. Controller what sums were expended from the public funds on the Gravesend School for Sea Training during the first year of its working from September, 1918, to September, 1919, and during the present financial year, and under what heading in the Estimates such Votes are to be found; what sums were received from the shipowners towards the expenses of the school from September, 1918, to September, 1919, and during the present financial year; whether the gross cost per boy amounted to £6 10s. per month or to a larger figure, and whether that sum included any uniform for the period of training or any outfit when the youth was sent to sea; whether there is included in the total cost of working for the first financial year any payment to the Seamen's Home at Gravesend for rent or the cost of any alterations to the home, and any payment for the use of the "Stork" or the cost of the dismantling and re-rigging of that vessel; and, if so, what sums were so expended and under what headings in the Estimates are they to be found; what is the total amount of salaries paid to the staff of the school; and what was the largest number of pupils under training at any one time?

Colonel WILSON

The sum expended from public funds on the Gravesend Sea School between September, 1918, and September, 1919, was, approximately, £14,000. Figures are not available for the period after September, 1919, but it is estimated that the total expenditure is about £3,500 per quarter. If the reference to the present financial year is intended to be the Government financial year, approximately £7,000 of the expenditure already incurred will fall within 1919–1920 Estimates, and I would refer the hon. Member to the speech that I made on the Estimates on 19th May last. The heading in the Estimates under winch the expenditure is provided for is Sub-head G (Hire and Expenses of Requisitioned and Other Vessels)—Other Payments. Up to September, 1919, no contribution will be made by shipowners towards the expenditure, but at the present time half the actual cost is being borne by shipowners. The cost of working for the first year does not include a payment to the Seamen's Home at Gravesend for rent, as this mutter is still awaiting reference to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission by the owners of the home, During the first twelve months the cost per boy amounted to 23s. 4d. per week or approximately £5 per month, instead of £6 19s. per month as mentioned in the question. The inclusion of the rent will add approximately another ls. to the weekly cost per boy. This sum does rid include the cost of uniform or outfit, both of which are repaid by the youth out of his advance note on first engagement, or subsequently. No payment was made for time use of the "Stork,"but the figures quoted include the cost of removal to and from Gravesend (£450). The cost of tile dismanting and rerigging of the vessel, including the requisite attention to moorings, was just under £400. The total amount paid in salaries for the first year's W or k was £3,000 and the maximum number of pupils under training at any one time 220, the present number under training being 180.