HC Deb 15 November 1917 vol 99 cc577-9

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the disparity between the prices which had to be paid for the lands required for the formation of Immingham Dock and the valuations for rating of these lands at the time of purchase; and whether, in the event of lands being acquired for the proposed national shipbuilding yards, he will cause detailed records to be made and kept of the prices paid for the lands and of the valuations of them for rating purposes at the time of purchase?


The Admiralty has not been concerned with the land acquired for the formation of Immingham Dock. The docks belong to the Great Central Railway Company. What we have done is to occupy some of the company's property, under the Defence of the Realm Regulations. Some little distance, however, from Immingham we have acquired land, part by agreement and part under the Defence of the Realm Regulations. With regard to the second part of 'the question, detailed records will be made and kept in the Department of the Director of Lands of the War Office of all land acquired in connection with national shipyards.


Would the right hon. Gentleman make it a practice to see that any demand for a national workshop for any national purpose is subject to the Defence of the Realm Act, because of the large prices charged by landowners for their land?


We take possession under the Defence of the Realm Act Regulations. If we purchase any land it would be under the Land Act.

81. Mr. G. TERRELL

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the number of stocks for new construction which are being added to the existing shipbuilding yards, and the number of stocks which the new National yards will contain?


The construction of an additional thirty-three slips to existing shipyards has already been sanctioned, and further extensions are under consideration.

It is estimated that an addition of front fifty to sixty slips will be made to existing private shipyards in all; and it is intended that the number of slips of the new National Shipyards will be from thirty to thirty-six.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he can state the policy of the Government as to whether it is intended to continue to work the new national shipyards as a national enterprise after the War or whether it is proposed that they should be disposed of as soon as the present emergency is over?


I am glad my hon. Friend has asked this question, as it enables me to define more closely, and to correct in some respects, the reply I gave yesterday to a similar question which he then put as supplementary to a question en the Paper. The necessity which led up to the construction of National Shipyards is essentially bound up in the urgent requirements for merchant shipping consequent on the present War, and until this emergency is over the Government is unable to give any definite assurance as to the policy to be pursued in connection with these yards after the conclusion of hostilities.


With reference to this answer and the answer to the previous question, will the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in referring to National Shipyards, he includes marine engineering works?


I think not, but I should require notice of that question. I was dealing with the proposed shipyards.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he can state, exclusive of the cost of land and compensation still under consideration, the estimated cost of any of the new national shipyards, and where it is proposed to erect them?


As I have previously stated, the estimates for the cost of the national shipyards are still under consideration, and will be passed to the Treasury as and when completed. As regards the situation of the yards, sites for three of them have definitely been chosen at Chepstow, Beachley, and Portbury; and it is proposed to obtain the additional number of slips required by extending these yards, if it is found possible. The construction of the first three yards mentioned is now in full progress.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he can give the estimated dates when the four new national shipyards will respectively be ready to undertake construction work, and the estimated date when the first ship will be ready for launching?


The construction of the new national shipyards is not sufficiently far advanced to give an accurate estimate of their date of completion, but it is intended that slips will be available in the first yard for the laying down of keels in from three to four months, and that the first vessel will be launched in October or November, 1918.