HC Deb 20 March 1923 vol 161 cc2318-20
12. Captain Viscount CURZON

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state the number of war-surplus Army lorries brought into this country during the last four years, and how many were of foreign manufacture; whether the number and value of all such lorries were included in the Board of Trade returns as imports; and whether lorries entering through ports in possession of Government Departments were included in the returns?


I am informed that, in the case of British Army lorries returned from abroad to this country, whether after sale abroad to private persons or as Army stores, such lorries were excluded from the official record of imports, and I am, therefore, unable to give the number of lorries so returned to this country. Lorries of foreign manufacture, disposed of by the military authorities of other countries, and subsequently shipped to this country, have been included in the official record of motor vehicles imported. But it would not be possible to furnish a separate statement of their number and value.

72. Viscount CURZON

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the 605 surplus motor lorries, sold at home by the Disposal Board since April, 1922, included 462 Thornycroft lorries, which had been lying at Cologne and were sold by the Disposal Board to the Slough Lorries Disposal Company, Limited, about October last; whether the price realised by the Disposal Board for the sale of these lorries was, approximately, £70 per lorry or less; whether the Slough Lorries Disposal Company was formed immediately before this sale with a share capital of only £1,000, of which £460 was paid up; whether the Disposal Board ever offered the lorries to the original manufacturers on the same terms; and, if not, why the Disposal Board preferred to sell to a new company with a paid-up capital of £460?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Major Boyd-Carpenter)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The 462 Thornycroft lorries were not sold to the Slough Lorries Disposal Company, Limited, and therefore the third and fifth parts of the question do not arise. With regard to the second part of the question, it is not considered desirable in the public interest to furnish information as to prices realised, and as to the fourth part of the question, the manufacturers of the lorries were given full opportunity of tendering, and, in fact, tendered a lower sum than that accepted.


Why does the hon. Gentleman not consider it advisable to give information as to the prices realised? Have not the Slough company, by agreement, to return to the taxpayer a certain portion of the profits made on their purchase of these lorries, and if we do not know the prices realised, how can we know whether or not any of the profits has been returned?


I think the right hon. Gentleman will see that it is more a subject for debate whether it is in the public interest to give the information suggested. As to the right hon. Gentleman's second point, I will make inquiries.

73. Viscount CURZON

asked the Chan cellor of the Exchequer whether the amount of £60,000 payable to the Government by the Slough Trading Company, Limited, under the profit-sharing clause in the agreement for the sale of the War surplus mechanical transport, was payable in respect of the gross sales by the company of mechanical vehicles in excess of £5,000,000, and, if it was not payable in respect of gross sales, what deductions were made from the gross sales in calculating the amount of £60,000; whether the Government have a share in the profits of the sale of spare parts and supplies which were valued in July, 1918, at £6,750,000, or is the profit-sharing arrangement confined to vehicles sold by the company; whether the Government have received any sum previously under the profit-sharing arrangement; and what further sums will become due to the Government under it?


The amount payable to the Government under the profit-sharing clause of the contract is calculated on the gross realisations from the sale of the mechanical transport vehicles. The profit-sharing arrangement is confined to vehicles sold to the company. No payment has been received under the profit-sharing arrangement, but payment of the sum due to date is expected in a few days. I regret that it is not at present possible to forecast what amount will become due to the Government in respect of profit-sharing on future sales.

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