HC Deb 01 May 1922 vol 153 cc980-1
93 and 94. Major W. MURRAY

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (1) whether, for the purpose of selling the Gretna factory and townships en bloc, he has caused an independent valuation of the subjects for sale to be made by any private and neutral firm of valuers, or whether the Treasury is guided in this matter solely by the valuation arrived at by the Disposal Commission's officials;

(2) whether he is aware that a strong feeling exists in Gretna and the surrounding district against any attempt to sell this property piecemeal until an independent valuation of the factory, townships, and plant has been obtained and made public; whether, in regard to a piecemeal sale, any calculation has been made of the length of the period over which such sale will last, of the cost of maintaining the factory, plant, and villages, of supporting the unemployed during such period, and of the losses which will accrue from the deterioration of plant, machinery, houses, etc., now increasing; and, if so, can he state the result of such calculation?


The answer to the first question is that the Government has been guided by the expert opinion of highly qualified officials of the Disposal and Liquidation Commission, and is satisfied that these officials are thoroughly competent to advise. In answer to the second part, full consideration has been given to the cost of selling Gretna other than in one lot, to the present unemployment in the district, and to the depreciation in value which may reasonably be expected from normal wear and tear in property of this kind. After, however, taking all such matters into consideration, I am satisfied that such proposals as have been made for the acquisition of the factory are totally inadequate.


Have not certain persons who have made offers asked for an independent valuation in order to reconsider their offers?


I am not aware of any proposal for an independent valuation because of any serious negotiations before the abolition of the factory.