§ 58. Colonel J. R. H. Hutchison
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that British shipowners are sending their vessels to Belgian shipyards for repairs owing to the harder work contributed by Belgian shipyard workers and consequent quicker release of the vessel; and by what system foreign exchange is available for this purpose.
§ Mr. Dalton
I am aware that some British ships must he repaired abroad, and exchange is found for this on production of the usual documentary evidence.
§ Colonel Hutchison
Is the Chancellor aware that there are shipyards in this country able to take these vessels, and the drain on our exchange could be avoided if his colleagues would persuade workmen to give a fair day's work for a fair wage?
§ Mr. Dalton
Allow me. I think that is a very misleading, if not improper, suggestion. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will give me any particulars of spare space in British yards, I will be very glad to bring it to the attention of my right hon. Friend who is responsible for these matters. At the present time we are losing no exchange over this type of transaction, because the faster the repairs can be consummated the more quickly the ship is brought back into service, and the fewer foreign vessels we have to hire. We have to pay through the nose for some foreign vessels which we have to hire.
§ Mr. Scollan
Does not my right hon. Friend think that that is a considerable foul slander on a very fine body of men?
§ Mr. Speaker
One should not make a charge of slander against any hon. Member. One must not make imputations against hon. Members, particularly in hot weather, when we are rather apt to get heated.
§ Hon. Members: Withdraw.
§ Mr. Gallacher
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is not the case that the shipyard workers of this country have a better record for production than shipyard workers in any other country?