THE seventeenth report of the Select Committee on National Expenditure, dealing with merchant shipbuilding and repairs, points out that the rate of output of merchant ships has been greatly increased since the beginning of the War. The programme of merchant shipbuilding which was set for 1941 was substantially attained, and in the first six months of 1942 the programme was slightly exceeded. The arrears of repair work have been cleared off, partly as a result of a decline in the amount of repair work, but partly also because of improvements in organization. The output per worker has greatly increased and has probably never been higher. In one region it increased by one half between February 1941 and June 1942, and the evidence is that in spite of American advantages in labour supply and the absence of black-out restrictions, the output per man in tons of steel in the American yards is about half that in the British yards.