HC Deb 24 July 1947 vol 440 cc1568-9
18. Mr. Kendall

asked the President of the Board of Trade if, in view of the wide publicity given to Grantham Productions, Limited, he will consider holding a full inquiry into the affairs of the company since the original allocation was made.

Sir S. Cripps

The company is in voluntary liquidation, and I am advised that the Board of Trade have no power under the existing Companies Act to appoint an inspector to investigate its affairs.

Mr. Kendall

In view of the fact that certain hon. Members of this House have put down a Motion asking for the appointment of a Select Committee to investigate the affairs of Grantham Productions, Limited, and that Questions have already drawn widespread attention to the firm, would the President of the Board of Trade agree to make an investigation into the possibilities of this company, and have a full investigation?

Sir S. Cripps

I have just said that the Board of Trade has no power to order such an investigation when a company is in voluntary liquidation.

Mr. Lyttelton

Will the President of the Board of Trade accept the Motion standing in my name and the names of some of my hon. Friends?

[That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the allocation of the Grantham Factories in 1945 to Grantham Productions, Limited, now in liquidation, and their re-allocation in 1947 to a financial syndicate headed by Mr. F. S. Cotton; and to report the result of their inquiries to the House.]

Sir S. Cripps

I think I told the right hon. Gentleman before that I could not.

Mr. Gallacher

Although this firm is in liquidation, now that this contract is broken, would it not be possible to get the original firm to start work again with the experience which they have gained?

Sir S. Cripps

I am afraid I do not understand clearly my hon. Friend's question?

Mr. Keeling

Even if, as the President says, he has no statutory power, surely there is nothing to prevent the Government appointing a Select Committee?

Sir S. Cripps

That would be a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply, who is in charge of that side of production.