HC Deb 17 March 1925 vol 181 cc2060-2
54. Mr. JACOB

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, in the case of guarantees under the Trade Facilities Act for purposes other than public utility purposes, the Trade Facilities Advisory Committee has definitely refused to accept the principle that the recognised association in any trade should be given an opportunity of expressing the views of the trade as a whole on the effect likely to be produced on it by the granting of any such guarantees; and whether he will issue instructions that, before granting facilities in such cases, inquiries shall be made to avoid excessive increases of plant and capacity in competitive industries?


I am informed that the Committee were asked to agree to consult with trade associations in every case of guarantee which might concern any existing British manufacturers. The Committee felt that it was quite impossible for them to tie their hands by a general pledge, although they do in fact consult with trade associations and other competent authorities from time to time as they consider necessary. As regards the second part of the question the hon. Member may rest assured that the Committee are aware of the danger mentioned. I think the Committee are the proper persons to settle their own procedure, and I do not propose, as at present advised, to limit their discretion.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Committee also consults with trade unions?


I hope they make all the inquiries in any quarter which they think will be fruitful.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the answer he has just given would apply to a non-federated firm, and in that instance, would it not be prejudiced evidence?


Here is a Committee charged with the distribution of important public credits, and I am sure that they are using their discretionary power with the sole object of making as much work as possible during these exceptional times. I am certain that it would greatly hamper them were we to lay down a lot of hampering conditions.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that successive Chan- cellors of the Exchequer and successive Financial Secretaries of the Treasury have assured us that this Advisory Committee is outside and detached from any influence of one business concern or another?


I am sure that is so. I am sure they endeavour to do their work in an impartial and honourable manner.

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