§ 19. Sir J. LONSDALE
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the firm of Bayer and Company, Limited, has a capital of £100,000, consisting of 10,000 shares of £10 each, of which 9,912 shares are held by Farben-fabriken Vorm. Fr. Bayer and Company, and of the six remaining shareholders four are resident in Germany, only twenty-four of the 10,000 shares being held in this country; if the operations of this company are under control; if this company signed a contract three months after the War commenced for the erection of new warehouses and offices in Manchester for the sum of £33,845, and, after holding back the contractors for two months, they are now pushing on with the building; and if it is intended to allow this German-owned and controlled company to use British labour, which is needed for national purposes, to provide themselves with facilities for competing with British firms after the War is over?
The facts with regard to the capital of Bayer and Company, Limited, are as stated by the hon. Gentleman, and I appointed a supervisor of the company in December, 1914. Before the commencement of the War the company applied for tenders for the building of new warehouses and offices, and a tender was accepted by the company on the 24th August, 1914. After the tender had been accepted the company wished to postpone building, but the contractor issued a writ to compel them to proceed. A contract for the building was signed on the 2nd November, 1914, and a payment was made to the contractor in respect of the increased cost of materials arising through the delay. I am informed that the contractor does not now wish to proceed with the contract, but that the company wish to have the building completed, as they 943 are under notice to leave the premises now occupied by them. I will consider whether the case is one in which it is desirable that steps should be taken to prevent the completion of the contract.
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this German undertaking controlling this firm is now using all its energies for the manufacture of poison gas and high explosives in Germany?