HC Deb 04 February 1954 vol 523 cc550-1
43. Sir R. Acland

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement on the response to the Realisation Agency's offer of the shares in Lancashire Steel to the public.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Details of the response to this offer were given in a public statement which was issued by the Agency on 22nd January, and to which I have nothing to add. I am sending a copy of the statement to the hon. Baronet.

Sir R. Acland

Is it not obvious from that statement, even to the Government, that there is no group of individuals capable of carrying the burden of this agency, except the community as a whole?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The arrangements for dealing with this matter were set out at some length in the debate that we had on the Motion the other day in the name of the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd). The facts do not support any of the insinuations made by the hon. Baronet.

Mr. Jay

In view of the results, will not the Government abandon the whole operation which, they must now know, has been as injurious to the country as it is discreditable to the Government?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir. In the first place, I do not accept the right hon. Gentleman's description of this issue, and, secondly, Her Majesty's Government have no intention of abandoning the duty imposed upon them by Parliament.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Does the right hon. Gentleman care to make any comment on the strong criticism made of the activities of the Iron and Steel Corporation's holding company by the "Financial Times" and the "Daily Express" this week?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

If the right hon. Gentleman can manage to get that question passed as being in order, I shall be delighted to answer it.