asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his Department possesses any figures showing the extent o which British coastal cargoes are carried in British and foreign ships, respectively; and, if so, whether he will state their nature?
I regret that the Official Statistics do not provide the information desired. Figures are published monthly in the accounts relating to trade and navigation showing the net tonnage of British and foreign vessels (including their repeated voyages) which arrive and depart with cargo in the British coasting trade. The latest figures show that during the first six months of 1938, foreign vessels represented 1·7 per cent. of the total tonnage so employed. I should add that, as indicated in the reply given to the hon. Member for Guildford (Sir J. Jarvis) on 14th April, the incidence of foreign competition in the coasting trade is greater in some trades and in some areas than in others.