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Research Ship (Completion)

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1949

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what are the Admiralty's intentions as to the completion of H.M.S. "Research"; and what amount of 'expenditure would be required for her completion.

On the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply made to the hon. Member for Chertsey (Captain Marsden) on 23rd February. As regards the second part, the cost of completing the "Research" as a sailing ship is estimated at £200,000; if she were engined, the cost would be considerably greater.

Is not the Financial Secretary aware of the important functions which this ship has to perform in the scientific field, with the help of the Merchant Navy, and, having spent so much money on her, does he say that there is now no prospect of the ship being completed, because the answer to which he referred said that nothing was to be done?

I have not said that there is no prospect of her being completed, and I do fully realise the importance of this ship, but we have a large number of commitments of very great importance and this must be related to the others.

Is not the necessity for this ship as great today, if not greater than before the war, when ships were more cheaply constructed?

It is, certainly, but we have a large number of commitments of great importance and we have to judge between them.