§ 47. Mr. ATKEY
asked the Prime Minister if he will state the approximate value of property to be released by the Government Surplus Property Disposal Board; the constitution of that Board; the commercial status and experience of its various members; whether they are in receipt of salaries; if so, will he give details thereof; and whether, in view of the immense sum at stake, he will consider the desirability of inviting the voluntary co-operation of additional independent commercial men in order that the Government may be assured of realising the greatest possible amount in disposing of its property?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of MUNITIONS (Mr. James Hope)
The answer to this is of such length that I ask permission to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ The following is the answer referred to:
§ The Disposal Board only disposes of Government property when it has been declared by other Government Departments to be surplus to their requirements. Whilst a considerable amount of material has already been passed to the Board for disposal, this represents only a proportion of what will ultimately become surplus. It is, therefore, impossible at present to give even an approximate estimate of the property which the Board will have for disposal. The members of the Board, with their commercial status and experience, are:
§ Chairman—Mr. F. G. Kellaway, M.P., Deputy-Minister of Munitions.
§ Deputy-Chairman—Sir Howard Frank, K.C.B., head of the firm of Messrs. Knight, Frank and Rutley, auctioneers and estate agents, and director of Levitt, Frank and Son, and of the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society, Fellow of Surveyors' Institution.
§ Mr. David Currie, partner in the firm of Lake and Currie, Limited, mining engineers; director and consulting engineer to Briseis Tin and General Mining Company.
§ Sir Robert Connell, K.B.E., senior partner in Lowden, Connell and Company, shipowners, Liverpool.
§ Major - General Sir A. R. Crofton Atkins, K.C.B., C.M.G., late Director of Supplies and Transport at the War Office.
§ Mr. Alexander Walker, head of the firm of John Walker and Sons, distillers, Kilmarnock.
§ Sir Sydney H. Henn, K.B.E., director of Messrs. Forster and Sons, Limited, and of the Horseley Bridge and Engineering Company, Limited.
§ Mr. D. Neylan, C.B.E., late Director of Finance at the War Office.
§ At present the only members of the Board receiving a salary from the Ministry of Munitions are the chairman, who receives his salary as Deputy-Minister and Parliamentary Secretary; General Crofton Atkins and Mr. D. Neylan. In the case of the last two members, the salaries 2022 at present being paid are £1,500 and £1,200 respectively, the salaries they were receiving from the War Office, from which Department they have been transferred.
§ A decision has not yet been taken as to whether any other members of the Board shall be paid. As soon as a decision is taken I will communicate the information to my hon. Friend. As to the last part of my hon. Friend's question, the work of the selling departments is dealt with by eighteen controllers, each of whom has the assistance of an advisory committee of independent commercial men experienced in dealing with the class of material coming under their direction.
§ Details of the organisation were given in the Press on the 10th February last. But, in view of changes and additions which have since been made, I shall be glad to circulate with the Daily Report the latest information, if my hon. Friend desires.