HC Deb 14 February 1956 vol 548 cc2163-4
36. Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state, to the latest convenient date, the amount that has had to be written off, or through accounts presented to this House will have to be written off, from sums made available to Public Corporations created between 1945 and 1951.

Mr. H. Brooke

About £50 million; the figures call for some explanation, and I will, with permission, circulate a short note in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

Can my right hon. Friend say whether this is the end of this dismal story of the money wasted during those years, or whether there are still further sums to be written off in the future?

Mr. Brooke

I hope that it is the end, but if my hon. and gallant Friend will read the statement which I propose to circulate, he may wish to ask further Questions.

The particulars are as follows:

Overseas Food Corporation The figures for the Overseas Food Corporation (including the Queensland Food Corporation) of sums written off out of advances from the Consolidated Fund or from voted moneys are:

Under Section 3 (4) of the Overseas Resources Development Act, 1951 35,871,125
Under arrangements set out in Cmd. 8760 540,000
Under Section 4 (1) of the Overseas Resources Development Act, 1954 3,691,403
Interest has been waived on the written-off advances to the Overseas Food Corporation.

Colonial Development Corporation Power has been taken in the Overseas Resources Development Act, 1954, to remit the interest on the net capital lost by the Colonial Development Corporation on abandoned undertakings; the amount of capital likely to qualify for remission of interest is expected to be about £4 million. National Film Finance Corporation The last Annual Report and Statement of Accounts of N.F.F.C. for the year ended 31st March, 1955, (Cmd. 9464) shows a deficiency to date of £3,780,000. Nothing has yet been written off in the account presented to the House under Section 8 (2) of the Cinematograph Film Production (Special Loans) Act, 1949, but it would be reasonable on present information to infer that something of the order of £3½ million of the £6 million advanced to the Corporation is likely to be irrecoverable and will have to be written off. Raw Cotton Commission When the winding up and dissolution of the Commission began on 1st September, 1954, the balance sheet showed an accumulated net deficit of just over £7 million. When the winding-up is completed the deficit may prove to be something between £8 and £9 million.