§ 23. Mr. T. Johnston
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that a Dutch vessel, the "Atlas," was loaded at Grangemouth on 11th February with a cargo of iron bars for 168 the Thames; whether there is any shortage of British coastwise shipping; whether profits made upon charters taken by foreign owners are subjected to Income Tax by the British Treasury; and whether it is intended to compel the ironmasters who receive advantages from a British tariff to give a preference to British-owned vessels in the British coastal trade?
§ Mr. Runciman
I am aware that the "Atlas" loaded a cargo of steel bars at Grangemouth on 11th February for the Thames. I am advised that there is no general shortage of British coastwise shipping, but I am unable to say whether a suitable British ship was available at the time required to load this cargo. The third part of the question is for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I understand that the profits arising from the business of shipping carried on in the United Kingdom by a foreign shipowner would be within the general charge of Income Tax. Section 18 of the Finance Act, 1923, authorises the conclusion of arrangements with foreign countries for the exemption of such profits on a reciprocal basis, and an arrangement of this character has been concluded with the Netherlands. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.
§ Mr. Johnston
Arising out of that amazing answer, will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to give the House the name of the ironmaster who took this charter?
§ Mr. Johnston
In view of the public interest which has been aroused by this matter will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to give the name of the iron-master?
§ Rear-Admiral Beamish
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether equal facilities are afforded to British shipping on the coasts of Europe, as were accorded to this Dutch craft on our coasts?