§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is able to report any progress with reference to any proposals made to him for the establishment of a pension or superannuation scheme for masters and officers of the mercantile marine; whether he has received any proposals from the representative organisations of seamen; if so, will he state from whom they are and their nature; whether the Board of Trade is prepared to accept any of the proposals as a basis of negotiation; and, if not, whether the Board is in a position to suggest any alternative proposals?
The only proposals which I have received recently relating to the establishment of a pension or superannuation scheme for masters and officers of the mercantile marine were proposals for a compulsory scheme to which shipowners, officers and the State should contribute in equal proportions. It would not be possible for the State to contribute to a pension scheme for any one industry unless it were prepared to contribute to similar schemes in all other industries, and for this reason I do not consider that the proposals in question are practicable. As the hon. and gallant Member was informed on the 6th May, the matter is primarily one for the industry itself, and is not one in which a Government Department can usefully take the initiative.