HC Deb 03 April 1919 vol 114 cc1375-6

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that Lord Leverhulme incorporated the Mac Line Drifters and Trawlers Company, Limited, on 24th February, 1919, and applied to the Treasury for sanction to issue shares to the extent of £500,000 on 6th March, 1919; that the said company was to develop the Lewis and add to the food of the people by increasing the harvest of the sea; and that, after correspondence, the Treasury granted sanction to issue the said shares on the understanding that the boats to be acquired should be newly-built vessels or secondhand vessels purchased direct from the Government; whether the company has requested the said condition to be departed from; and has it been departed from or abrogated as a result of the freeing of the restrictions on the issue of capital for home industries?


The answer to all parts of the question is in the affirmative.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether builders of trawlers are not permitted to enter into contracts at the price they are willing to build them because the Treasury deem the price tendered will not yield enough excess profits; whether one builder of trawlers entered into a contract to build for £11,000 or thereby, and now repudiates the same, alleging that the Treasury will not allow him to build for less than £18,000, and whether it is because of this restriction that it was proposed to grant leave to issue shares to Lord Leverhulme's Company, the Mac Line of Trawlers and Drifters Company, Limited, only on the understanding that they bought newly-built trawlers or relieved the Government of some of those which they had taken during the War and desired to relieve themselves of at the new company's expense?


The Treasury has made no such condition as that sug- gested in the question, and exercises no control over the price at which trawlers or other vessels may be built by private firms. I am quite unable to understand the point of the hon. Member's question. If he will send me a detailed statement of the grounds on which he put it, I shall be glad to consider it.


Is it the fact that those fishermen whose boats were taken over by the Admiralty are now being tendered a sum of £4,000 for drifters which have been lost at sea in mine-sweeping, and that that is an insufficient sum with which to buy a new drifter I Will the right hon. Gentleman see that these fishermen are provided with drifters equal in value to the drifters which the Admiralty took over, so as to be able to renew their work?


That does not arise out of this question. I think that it is a question which should be addressed to-the Admiralty.