HC Deb 04 April 1917 vol 92 cc1296-7
86. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware that while under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854, only British subjects can own shares in British ships, under the Companies Act of 1862 foreigners may hold unlimited shares in shipping companies; and whether the law in this behalf will now be altered?

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Gordon Hewart)

I understand that the facts are substantially as stated in the question of my hon. Friend, subject, however, to the provisions of the British Ships (Transfer Restrictions) Act, 1916, whereby British ships are prevented from being mortgaged or transferred to, or becoming the property of, foreign-controlled companies. The question as to what, if any, alteration in the permanent law is required, is at present engaging the attention of the Government in connection with the wider question of the participation of foreigners in British companies.