HC Deb 12 May 1924 vol 173 cc913-6
86. Mr. REMER

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been called to the circular issued to their shareholders by the Calthorpe Investments, Limited, advising them, in view of the repeal of the McKenna Duties, to pass a resolution to wind-up the company; if he is aware that this company controls two important manufacturing concerns, Messrs. Calthorpe Motors, Limited, and Messrs. Mulliners, Limited, in Birmingham; and if, in view of this evidence of the unemployment caused by his proposals, he will consent to have a scientific inquiry into the whole subject before the duties are repealed?


I have seen a statement in the Press to the effect that the Calthorpe Motor Company has decided to recommend to the shareholders the winding-up of the company. I have also seen a statement in the Press by Mr. Hill, Chairman of the Calthorpe Motor Comany, attributing the position of certain motor manufacturing concerns to the results of an artificial boom and to the exaggeration of the present agitation which, to quote his words, had developed into a political stunt.


Is the hon. Member aware that in the circular issued to shareholders it is specifically stated that the unemployment that will be caused through this company going into liquidation is due to the withdrawal of the McKenna Duties?


Can the hon. Member explain the great glee of the hon. Members on the benches behind him?

87. Viscount CURZON

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, before deciding to abolish the McKenna Duties, any steps were taken to ascertain the effect of such action upon the men employed in the industries affected; and whether any estimate has been formed of the number of men and their dependants who are dependent upon the industries affected for their existence?


The answer to the first part of the question is that this and all other relevant considerations were duly weighed. There are no available statistics relating precisely to the branches of trade affected directly or indirectly by the duties, but it has been estimated that the number of workpeople engaged in these branches would not exceed 200,000, and may be considerably less. As to dependants, such information as is available suggests that there are on the aver- age three dependants to each two persons employed.


Are not 200,000 British workmen worth safeguarding?


Will the hon. Member tell us the opinion of these motor car manufacturers on the question of a duty on the raw materials of manufacture?


May the House take it that, at any rate, not more than one million souls are likely to be affected?