HC Deb 21 November 1916 vol 87 cc1208-9

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to advertisements appearing in the "Commercial and Financial Chronicle" of New York prior and up to 28th October last, representing that the Deutsche Bank and the Disconto-Gesellschaft Bank are still carrying on business in London, and giving in prominent type the addresses of their London branches; whether this has been done by or with the authority of the managers of these London branches or of the controller; if so, whether it will be stopped; and whether he will now consider the advisability of selling the London premises of these two banks?


My attention has been called to the advertisements to which the hon. and learned Member refers. These advertisements have not been inserted in the American paper in question by or with the authority of the managers or controller of the London branches of the Deutsche Bank and the Disconto-Gesellschaft, but they are presumably inserted and paid for by the head offices of the respective banks in Germany. The London establishments are not responsible for inaccurate and misleading statements made by the head offices or agencies of the banks in the enemy or neutral Press. No paid advertisements have been continued or made by the London branches since the outbreak of war. Directions have already been given for the sale of the Deutsche Bank premises. In order that a proper title may be given to a purchaser the property will have to be vested in the Public Trustee. Steps are being taken accordingly, and the property will be sold by auction. Similar steps will shortly be taken with regard to the premises of the Dresdner Bank and the Disconto-Gesellschaft.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any statements are made in neutral papers about the winding-up of these branches? Have any advertisements been inserted in the American papers that the branches of these banks have long ceased to exist?


We have not advertised about the London branches so far as I am aware. We may have done so, but I do not think that we have advertised that the London branches are closed. I will inquire into the matter.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say to what he alludes when he says "misleading and inaccurate statements." What are the misleading and inaccurate statements?


The misleading and inaccurate statement is the statement in the advertisement which has appeared in the New York Press that the Deutsche Bank has got a branch doing business in London. That is misleading and inaccurate. The advertisement gives amongst the branches which it describes as existing branches of the bank, a London branch. It includes that address amongst a number of other addresses. That is to imply that they are doing business in London; and that is misleading and inaccurate.


Will you direct the manager of the London branches to insert corrected advertisements in the American papers?

62. Sir H. DALZIEL

asked whether the money paid to Sir William Plender and other controllers of the German firms and banks is subjected to the War Profits Tax?


The persons appointed to be supervisors and controllers of enemy banks and firms are normally accountants, and their remuneration is thus part of a professional income, which is excepted from the charge to Excess Profits Duty under Section 39 (c) of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915.