§ 12.53 a.m.
Captain A. EVANS
I beg to move, in page 5, line 9, at the end, to insert:except in the case of owners of any vessel giving an undertaking to burn British, and/or Empire coal, or oil derived exclusively from this source, when the rate of interest shall not exceed two per cent.I am afraid that there is a mistake in the terms of the Amendment as it appears on the Order Paper. I am afraid also that it is largely my fault because the first part of the Amendment was typewritten and when I altered it in my own handwriting——
§ The CHAIRMAN
I allowed the hon. and gallant Member to move his Amendment so that he could tell the Committee the form in which he proposed to do so. I am not quite sure it makes sense, or whether it is in Order. The hon. and gallant Member will perhaps enlighten the Committee on the subject.
I hope to do so even at five minutes to one o'clock in the morning. I must apologise to the Committee for raising such an important matter at this hour. The Amendment has been put down to elicit a statement from the Government on their policy on the question of coal and oil as it affects the mercantile marine. I think the President of the Board of Trade knows what is in my mind and I do not think it necessary at this time of the morning to go over the whole ground of the position of the South Wales coal industry. I fear that if I attempted to do so—and that was my original plan—the Committee would have very little sympathy with me. There are one or two 1512 facts, however, that we have to take into consideration in regard to the Amendment. It is true to say that as far as the Admiralty List is concerned—and it was a very important list for the South Wales coal industry years ago—that is unhappily a thing of the past. I think that there is certainly a case for the use of oil in the Navy, purely from the point of view of naval efficiency. I do not think that argument can apply to the mercantile marine as a whole, and the tramp shipping section in particular. My chief anxiety in putting down this Amendment is in relation to the new ships which will be built under Part II of the Bill. I think it is true to say that from the economic point of view it is advisable to burn coal on the tramp steamers which work at a speed of under 12 knots an hour, and that it is more economical and advantageous to burn oil in ships built to deal with a speed of over 12 knots per hour.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Perhaps I can save the hon. and gallant Member trouble. I realise now that his Amendment is entirely outside the scope of the Bill, and I am afraid I must rule that that is so. It is not in order.
May I respectfully say that it is pertinent to suggest that if £10,000,000 is to be paid to this industry, regard should be had to the position of the coal industry with a view to making some practical suggestion to encourage the burning of coal by British steamers rather than the burning of oil?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is just the kind of thing which I think is beyond the scope of the Bill, and I rule accordingly.
§ Clauses 5 (Commencement of Part II), 6 (Supplementary Provisions), 7 (Repeal of 16 & 17 Geo. 5. c. 9. s. 18), and 8 (Short Title) ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the Third time upon Monday, 28th January.