§ 4. Mr. Awbery
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many steel firms have been sold back recently to private combines; what was the price paid for them by the Government when they were taken over; and what were the amounts now received for them.
§ Mr. Barber
On 16th January the Iron and Steel Holding and Realisation Agency announced that arrangements had been concluded for the sale to Iron and Steel Investments Ltd. of the entire issued share capitals of Bairds and Scottish Steel Ltd., John Baker and Bessemer Ltd., and Skinningrove Iron Company Ltd., together with a loan of £1,800,000 owned by Skinningrove Iron Company Ltd., to the Agency for a total consideration of £5.7 million. The compensation price for these three companies under the Iron and Steel Act, 1949, was £6.7 million.
§ Mr. Awbery
Is the Financial Secretary aware that the enormous profits made by these private individuals on take-overs fall on the taxpayer? Is he further aware that nationalised industries are now succeeding so well that they are taking over private enterprise industries? Will he assist them in this process?
§ Mr. Barber
I think that the hon. Gentleman is drawing a false conclusion. If he will look at the Annual Reports of the Agency he will find that other Agency transactions have shown a profit on the same basis. The latest Annual Report of the Agency shows an excess of realisations over book value.