HC Deb 09 March 1936 vol 309 cc1806-7
35. Colonel BURTON

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is now in a position to state the terms upon which the British Sugar Corporation, Limited, will acquire the existing beet-sugar factories; whether such terms have been submitted to the shareholders, and whether the acceptance of the terms was voluntary?


The position regarding the proposed amalgamation of the beet-sugar manufacturing companies remains as stated in the reply I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend on 27th February last.


Have terms not already been agreed upon between these companies?


No, Sir.

75. Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER (for Mr. BARNES)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in what way the repayment in full of the redemption instalments due from the Anglo-Scottish beet-sugar companies are subject to the Sugar Industry (Reorganisation) Bill becoming law?


As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, the principal object of the Sugar Industry (Reorganisation) Bill is to authorise the continued payment of State assistance to the beet-sugar industry. If the Bill becomes law therefore the fixed assets of the companies in question can be valued as the assets of going concerns, and on this basis it can be assumed that they will realise a sufficient amount to enable the companies to repay their guaranteed loan debts. If, on the other hand, the Bill were not to become law, the individual companies would be left to carry on their business as best they could, without direct financial assistance from the State, or else to go into liquidation. In either of these latter cases it is not to be expected that the companies would be in a position to repay these debts in full.


Do I understand from that answer that the outstanding debt of £948,000 of the Anglo-Scottish Corporation, of which Lord Weir was chairman, will be repaid by this process and that that makes it necessary for the Government to guarantee in return a new £1,000,000 worth of debentures?


No, Sir. I think the right hon. Gentleman would not be wise to draw that conclusion from the answer given. As he is aware, the terms of this Bill are now being discussed by an Advisory Committee set up by the Government which is going into the matter to ascertain the terms on which the interest can be cleared, and, in view of the inquiry now going on, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to await the report before discussing the matter.


Is it not plain that what in fact he is doing is to receive repayment of debt of £948,000 into one of his pockets and handing £1,000,000 out of the other?


No, Sir; that is not the case.


Can we have the Minister's assurance that Lord Weir will not lose any money over it?


I thick the hon. Member should address that question to the person concerned. We are doing our best to see that the Treasury does not lose money over it.

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