Motion made, and Question proposed,
That it is expedient to authorise any increase in the sums payable into the Exchequer under the Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Act 1949 which is attributable to any Act of the present Session to enable effect to be given to an International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea signed in London on 17th June, 1960.—[Mr. Green.]
§ 10.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Stan Awbery (Bristol, Central)
I wish to say a word on the subject of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. If we allow this Motion to pass tonight without any explanation it will give the impression that this matter is not important whereas it is very important to seamen. It is 50 years this year since the first Convention was established after the sinking of the "Lusitania". A Commission was set up at that time and out of that Commission arose the first Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. Since that Commission was established there have been four Conventions, one after the other, and this is the fourth.
I congratulate the Government on spending this money, but I want to voice some criticism about the way in which it has been done. The Commission sat in 1960 and prepared a report, but only two months ago our Government decided to sign the Convention. It was 1336 necessary to have 15 signatures to the Convention before it could become operative. Six of those nations must be shipping nations and there were only five. Two months ago the Government decided to sign the Convention. Twelve months after the signature of the Government is put to the document the Convention becomes operative. There has been considerable delay because our Government delayed in signing. I ask the Government that in future Conventions such as this there will be no delay such as we have had on this occasion.
§ The Chairman
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but it seems that this is a very narrow Resolution that we are debating. The question is whetherit is expedient to authorise any increase in the sums payable into the Exchequer under the Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Act".Expenditure out of the Exchequer is not included in this Resolution.
§ Mr. Awbery
I want to show how the money is to be spent. We are asking for the money to be spent on the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. If I am out of order, I shall bow to your Ruling, Sir William.
§ The Chairman
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member again, but that is the point. We cannot discuss expenditure of money out of the Exchequer because this Resolution deals merely with sums payable into the Exchequer.
§ Mr. Awbery
Could you tell us when we can raise the question of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea so that people will understand on what money is being spent?
§ Question put and agreed to
§ Resolution to be reported.
§ Report to be received Tomorrow: Committee to sit again Tomorrow.