§ 17. Mr. FORREST
asked the Secretary of State for War whether the Army lorries, including the Thorneycrofts, recently sold in Cologne were put up to public auction and how, if this is not the case, the maximum price possible is secured for the nation: whether the profit on some of these lorries, even after removal, custody, and transport expenses are paid, is often 100 per cent.; and whether, in view of the sums involved and the criticism of the transactions in expert motor circles, greater care can be taken to realise national property to greater national advantage?
§ The DEPUTY-MINISTER of MUNITIONS (Mr. Kellaway)
I have been asked to reply. The answer to the first part of the question is, No, Sir. I am satisfied that the highest price would not have been secured had the vehicles been sold in Cologne by auction, and I do not agree that sale by auction necessarily secures the highest price in this 1081 country. I am not aware that any of the vehicles referred to have been re-sold, and I understand that the purchasers have not yet received the lorries. The greatest care is taken by the Disposal Board to ensure that surplus Government property is disposed of to the best advantage. I would remind my hon. Friend that the usual contention of the critics of the Board's transactions is that the prices obtained are excessive.