§ 14. Sir W. BULL
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in the negotiations with Messrs. Reid, Holliday and Company, any suggestion was made to the proprietors to follow the usual course in such cases and accept part at least of the purchase money in the shares of the new undertaking?
I do not think that the course suggested would have been either practicable or convenient, in view of the facts that when the option was obtained the scheme for the new company was in embryo, that the new company is, and has always been, intended to be primarily an association of consumers rather than of producers of dyes, and that the dividend on ordinary shares is limited as long as the Government advance if outstanding.
§ Mr. HEWINS
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether in fact a course like that mentioned in the question was suggested or not?
I believe it was discussed as between the company and the Committee who were promoting the scheme, and the Committee who were promoting the scheme did not desire to give the vendors any shares.
§ 15. Sir W. BULL
asked what proportion of the profits earned by Messrs. Reid, Holliday and Company as a manufacturing concern, and taken into account for computing the purchase price of that concern, was estimated to be earned on the manufacture of synthetic drugs and aniline dyes, respectively?
§ 21. Sir PHILIP MAGNUS
asked whether the revenue of Messrs. Read, Holliday, and Sons, Limited, upon which the purchase price by British Dyes, Limited, is based, has been derived solely from the manufacture in England of the products which they sell, or whether a portion has teen derived, directly or indirectly, from profits or commission on the sale of goods manufactured abroad?
An option has been acquired to purchase the undertaking of Messrs. Read, Holliday and Sons, Limited, on certain terms, but it will be entirely for the directors of the new Dyes Company, when formed, to decide at their discretion whether that option shall be exercised. In these circumstances, I do not think it would be proper for me to give the details asked for.
§ 16. Mr. HEWINS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his Department has given, and is prepared to give, further licences to British firms to import aniline dyes, including aniline dyes from enemy countries; what are the special circumstances which have determined the Board of Trade in this policy; and whether it is intended to apply to all users of dyes who make application for corresponding facilities?
Licences to import aniline dyes of enemy origin have been granted in a number of cases, in view of the existing shortage of artificial dyes and their importance to the textile and other industries. The licences may be revoked at any time, should that course appear expedient; but I do not think that the present situation is such as to justify the 536 discontinuance of the practice. Every application for a licence is considered on its merits.
§ Mr. HEWINS
Does that answer mean that private dye users may make then own arrangements through neutral countries to import aniline dyes from Germany?
It means that they can only import enemy dyes into this country provided they have a licence. Without having that licence it will be illegal for them to do so.
The licence is for no other purpose but for licensing the importation of enemy goods, if such are necessary, into this country.
§ Mr. HEWINS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that every sovereign Germany gets for aniline dyes is spent in making bullets for our men?
That may be perfectly true, but it is also necessary that our own industries should exist under certain conditions. Every licence is considered on its merits. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to suggest that there should be no licences issued in any circumstances, then he must put that question to the Prime Minister and not to me.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member had better put his question on the Paper. We have well over 100 questions on the Paper now.
18. Mr. SHIRLEY BENN
asked whether non-users of dyes will be precluded from becoming shareholders in the proposed National Dye Company; and whether dyes produced by the company will be sold to all British dye users who are not shareholders in the National Dye Company at the same price as they will be sold to the shareholders?
I understand that applications for shares in the proposed new company will be invited not only from users of dyes but from others willing to assist in providing a supply thereof. The prices to be charged by the company for its products will be a matter for the determination of the directors, subject to the provision against undue preference which is one of the conditions of Government assistance.