HC Deb 27 June 1917 vol 95 cc385-6
74. Mr. MILLAR

asked whether the claim made by the proprietors of the Maryport Brewery, Carlisle, in respect of the acquisition by the Central Control Board (Liquor Traffic) of the brewery undertaking and premises and the licensed houses attached thereto under the statutory powers conferred upon the Board by the Defence of the Realm (Amendment) (No. 3) Act, 1915, was submitted to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission and settled by them; what sum was fixed by the Commission as the purchase price; and what price was paid by the Board for the undertaking and premises and stock, etc.?


The claim referred to in the question has never been formally submitted to or adjudicated upon by the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission. The Central Control Board, with the sanction of the Treasury, have agreed to pay to the Maryport Brewery Company in respect of their whole undertaking £140,000, which sum includes compensation to the chairman and directors of the company and all the company's legal and valuers' charges. In addition to this, a payment is to be made in respect of brewing materials and wet stock, which are taken over at a valuation, but it is not in the public interest to state the amount of stock taken over or the prices paid.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether in this particular instance the Losses Commission did not think that this was a case which ought to have been investigated before any payment was made, and whether any opportunity was afforded to the Commission to deal with this case before the price was paid?


I discussed the matter personally with members of the Commission before I gave my reply.


Is it not the case that pressure was put upon the Commission to induce them to agree to the sum settled upon by the Control Board and the Brewery Company, that that pressure was ineffective, and that thereupon the Treasury paid a large sum without the sanction of the Losses Commission?


I cannot agree with, the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's question. There was no pressure put upon the Losses Commission so far as I am aware.


Are we to understand that the statement that this question was submitted to the Commission and they recommended £100,000, and that over their heads the Treasury paid £140,000, is all nonsense? It will come out in the public accounts.


I do not think that the hon. Member's account of the proceedings is quite a fair one.


Can the hon. Gentleman suggest how this matter came before the War Losses Commission at all if it was not within their purview.


It did not come before them.


Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply I propose to raise this matter on the Munitions Vote which, I understand, is to be taken to-morrow.