HC Deb 15 November 1920 vol 134 cc1486-7
36. Mr. DOYLE

asked the Prime Minister whether the consumers and manufacturers of the British dyestuffs industry are substantially agreed as to the lines upon which a Bill to safeguard its interests should be framed; and, if so, will the Government introduce a Bill without any unnecessary delay?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Lloyd George)

I am sorry to say that there is no such agreement as is suggested in the first part of the question. As to the second part, the Government are prepared to give an undertaking that the first measure to be dealt with in the coming Session will include the Government's proposals for carrying out their pledges in this matter, and their obligations as contained in the; prospectus of the British Dyestuffs Corporation.


If the right hon. Gentleman receives satisfactory assurances that there is a substantial agreement—if the users and manufacturers show that—will the right hon. Gentleman introduce a Bill this Session?


My hon. Friend is very much more sanguine than my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and the rest of us in touch with consumers and users of these dyes. But if there were agreement that a Bill would go through very easily—that is a matter which the Government might be prepared to consider.


Does the right hon. Gentleman say that the Government accept the allegation in the whole of the prospectus issued by the British Dye-stuffs Corporation?


I cannot remember what the whole of the prospectus contained. My recollection is that those concerned set out certain pledges which were given at the time by the Government—I believe they set them out quite fairly. Those pledges we must honour.


Is it not the case that there was a definite guarantee held out in the prospectus, and that the longer the Government delays in fulfilling that guarantee the longer it is a breach; and are not the ordinary directors of a company issuing a prospectus liable to damages for failure to implement their guarantee?


Was there any limitation of the amount of the profit?


I am afraid there is for the moment no question of profit. My hon. Friend need not worry very much about that. Certainly there was an undertaking given by the Government, and we are in honour bound to invite the House of Commons to honour that undertaking.


In honouring that agreement will the right hon. Gentleman take care that the textile industries are not injured, and are able to have access to the cheapest and best dyes procurable?


Will the right hon. Gentleman assure himself in future that he has the support of the House of Commons before he gives these undertakings for the Government to honour?

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