asked the President of the Board of Trade how many vessels are at present lying in various shipyards throughout the country in an unfinished state; whether he is aware of the widespread distress that has fallen upon many areas where shipbuilding operations are almost, or altogether, suspended; and whether any action is contemplated by the Government to consult the shipbuilding industry as to what steps might be taken to revive the trade?
According to the returns prepared by "Lloyd's Register" for the September quarter, the tonnage on which work had been suspended owing to the decline in the demand for tonnage amounted to 731,000 tons, and that which had been delayed in completion owing to abnormal causes to about 457,000 tons. These two totals amount to 36 per cent. of all tonnage under construction. I am aware that there is distress caused by the suspension of shipbuilding, as there is in other industries. The causes of the suspension are well known, and until these are removed I am afraid that any considerable revival is improbable; but my right hon. Friend is always ready to receive representations from those engaged in the industry.