HC Deb 09 May 1918 vol 105 cc2322-3
60. Major HUNT

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether upon the Match Committees acting with the control officer there are men who are really agents or nominees of the Scandinavian trusts; whether one of these is of alien birth and another is a partner with one who is of enemy-alien birth; if these were appointed as having match factories in this country; whether inquiries will be instituted to see if these factories are, according to the published balance-sheets of the Scandinavian trusts, wholly their property and erected in this country to get behind the preferential tariffs of our Colonies; that these factories have been so manipulated as to the cost prices of the same and raw materials obtained from the trusts in Sweden as to evade the payment of British Income Taxes such as are paid by bonò fide British match factories; whether these factories are largely manned 'by alien labour; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. The Match Administration Committee, established under the direction of the Tobacco and Matches Control Board, consists of representatives of match manufacturers, importers, and wholesale dealers, and includes a member who is a director of a Swedish firm owning a factory in this country. He was elected by the trade to watch the interests of those in this country who formerly bought imported matches, but neither he nor any other member of the Committee is of alien birth, and I understand that the only alien employed at the British factory is the manager, who is a Swede. I doubt if the company are able to evade taxation in respect of their business in this country, but if my hon. and gallant Friend has any information on this point I suggest that he should communicate it to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue.