31. Sir WALTER RUNCIMAN
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shipping Controller if he will say how many cases there are of cargo vessels building to the order of companies and others being put on one side or delayed because the Government has taken the material intended for them; whether the completion of these cargo vessels which are already under contract or construction is being in any other way delayed in order to construct what are called standardised ships; and if he is aware that these are cargo vessels of useful type and could be used in ways which would be of equal national service?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of SHIPPING CONTROL (Sir Leo Chiozza Money)
As to the first part of my right hon. Friend's question, I am not aware that the Government has taken material intended for cargo vessels under construction; as to the second and third parts of the question, as I informed the hon. Member for the Kirk-dale Division of Liverpool on 1st March, the programme of standardised merchant shipbuilding which is being carried out is designed under expert advice to produce for the national use in the shortest possible space of time in the given circumstances, vessels specially suited to meet the present emergency, and it is not the case that these standardised ships have been substituted for vessels which are in every respect equally suitable.