I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state the number of boy sailors in merchant ships now enrolled in the Royal Naval Reserve under Section 6 of the Mercantile Marine Fund Act, 1898; what amount in respect of light dues has been refunded to the owners of ships carrying boy sailors since the said Act came into force; and under what head of charge is this item brought in the Estimates.
The number of boy sailors enrolled in the Royal Naval Reserve from the 1st April, 1899, to the l0th instant was 730. The amount paid to owners of ships as rebate of light dues in respect of boys carried during the year from 1st April, 1899, to 31st March, 1900. was £621 8s. 10d. Payment for the current year is not due until the 31st instant. This item is provided for in the Naval Estimates Vote 7 (Royal Naval Reserve) sub-head (a).