asked the Minister of Food how much of the sugar imported from the West Indies in 1948 was carried in chartered boats; how much in regular service passenger and freight vessels; and what was the proportion carried in foreign vessels and British vessels, respectively.
All sugar imported into the United Kingdom from the British West Indies and Haiti in 1948 was carried on British liners. From Cuba, 764,080 tons were shipped in chartered vessels, of which 38,600, i.e. 5 per cent. were foreign, and 21,000 tons in British liners. From San Domingo 185,691 tons were shipped in chartered vessels, of which 16,000 tons, or 7.6 per cent. were foreign, and 23,750 tons in British liners.
Has the Minister considered any reports to the effect that the British West Indian shipping services would be greatly stimulated if all contracts from his Department were placed for carriage in British ships? As this would be to the great advantage of Colonial development in the West Indies, will he look into this matter with a view to stimulating a regular and more frequent service of British ships with the West Indies?
I should have thought my reply showed that the margin is rather small.