HC Deb 13 February 1919 vol 112 cc274-6

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the unrest in commercial circles caused by the refusal of the Treasury to permit British companies to make new public issues of capital while foreign companies, which are not thus impeded by their Governments, are enabled to enter into competition with British trade in the world's markets?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the restrictions now placed upon issues of row capital to be used for the purposes of railways, industrial trading, and mining concerns will be removed or relaxed, with a view to encouragement of British production and development at home and overseas, to increase the funds out of which future Government loans and taxation will be provided, to improvement and stabilisation of the sterling exchange, and to an extension of the area of employment for labour?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction created in the City by the attitude of the Capital Issues Committee of the Treasury; and whether he proposes to continue the Committee in power; and, if so, for how long?

84. Colonel Sir JOHN HOPE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the delays in the transaction of business by the new Capital Issues Committee of the Treasury; whether he is aware that the Committee only sits once a week, and refuses to hear oral evidence or explanations from any applicants; and that as the Committee puts questions by correspondence only it sometimes takes weeks before applicants receive any answer, and consequently unnecessary delay and hindrance is caused to British industry and enterprise?


This subject is at the present time being considered by His Majesty's Government, and my right hon. Friend hopes to make an announcement on the subject in the course of next week.

83. Sir J. HOPE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer who are the members of the new Capital Issues Committee of the Treasury; what is the number of the secretariat of the Committee; and that were its costs during the year 1918?


The present members of the Committee on Fresh Issues of Capital are Lord Cunliffe, Mr. Gaspard Farrer, Sir H. Llewellyn Smith, and Mr. J. F. Mason. There are two secretaries and an unpaid assistant. The cost in 1918, so far as it can be definitely earmarked, wag approximately £740.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the goose which lays the golden eggs is getting rapidly weaker and will shortly die unless the stranglehold of the Treasury Issues Committee is removed?


I know all about it.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the terms of reference under which the New Capital Issues Committee of the Treasury now operates; the date of the terms of reference; and whether those terms are still appropriate to the present financial situation?


The Committee was appointed in January, 1915, and charged with the general duty of supervising capital issues. No specific terms of reference were issued to the Committee, but a notice was published in the Press at the time giving, in general terms, the considerations which would guide the control.


Is it not a fact that the intention was that this Committee should only interfere in cases where the public are being asked to subscribe money? Is it not a fact that they have acted ultra viresever since and have interfered even with the formation of family companies?

Viscount WOLMER

When the Chancellor of the Exchequer is reconsidering this matter will he consult the authorities of the Stock Exchange and the chambers of commerce?


I am sure he will take whatever steps he ought to take.

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