HL Deb 01 August 1951 vol 173 cc242-4WA

asked His Majesty's Government what is the complete rearmament programme for our coastal forces; how many of these patrol craft are on active service with the Fleet; are they in full commission and engaged in regular exercises, and properly equipped with radar and the necessary armament; how many patrol boats are in reserve, and are they being fully maintained in a seaworthy condition and with equipment available for them at short notice.


The rearmament programme for the next three years includes plans for the building of some seventy-five coastal forces craft. The following are the categories of the existing craft:

Category Active Fleet Training and Special Duties Reserve Fleet
Control Boats 4 Nil 5
Fast Patrol Boats 12 12 (i) 29
Patrol Boats (ii) 23 10 (iii) 33
Seaward Defence Boats 16 Nil Nil
(i) Including one in use by the R.N.V.R.
(ii) Forty-two Patrol Boats are being equipped as Inshore Minesweepers and, when so fitted, will be withdrawn from the Coastal Forces category.
(iii) Including four in use by the R.N.V.R.

£ millions
1946 1947 1948 1949 1950
Personal income 8,989 9,351 9,999 10,507 11,042
Wages 3,197 3,671 4,140 4,370 4,611
Salaries 1,815 1,981 2,238 2,400 2,552
Payments of dividends on ordinary shares* 468 526 513 533 543
* Excluding payments by one British company to another.

The fall between 1947 and 1948 is attributable to the substitution of fixed interest payments for ordinary dividends as a result of the nationalisation of the transport and electricity industries.

Question (c). Figures for dividends paid during the first six months of 1951 are available only for the large companies

The craft on active service are provided with all the necessary equipment and regularly carry out exercises. The craft in reserve or on special or training duties have all been refitted within the last two years or are being refitted now and they are being maintained in a seaworthy condition. Equipment is available at short notice for all boats refitted and will be available for those refitting now when they complete their refits.