HC Deb 19 April 1944 vol 399 cc198-9
49. Sir H. Williams

asked the Minister of Supply if his attention has been drawn to the fact that, in the year following the concentration of the paint industry, the principal firm in that industry, Messrs. Pinchin, Johnson and Company, Limited, has increased its profits from £453,000 to £553,000 and its dividend from 8½ per cent. to 10 per cent.; and whether any employees of this firm or of any of its subsidiaries are or were on the staff of his Ministry engaged in controlling the paint industry.

Sir A. Duncan

Yes, Sir, but I would point out that the paint industry has not been concentrated. A member of the staff of a subsidiary of the firm referred to is serving in the Miscellaneous Chemicals Control.

Sir H. Williams

Is it not the case that, although the industry has not, technically, been concentrated, the Government are routing orders so that only certain firms. are privileged to receive the orders; that the Ministry of Labour has taken as much as possible of the labour employed by other firms, and that concentration has, therefore, been achieved not straightly but crookedly?

Sir A. Duncan

There is no foundation for any suggestion of that kind. There has been no concentration, straight or crooked.

Mr. Shinwell

Will the Minister do what he can to help the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) to reduce the profits of industrial firms?

Mr. Gallacher

And will the Minister also take notice of the same hon. Member's suggestion that the capitalists cannot be trusted?