HC Deb 09 March 1920 vol 126 cc1126-7W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether he can cite any precedent which justifies the British Government from investing funds in the British Cellulose Company and allowing them to open up as competitors, with Government backing and finance, against existing manufacturers in this country?


The British Government did not invest money in the British Cellulose Company for the purpose of enabling the company to open up its ordinary trade. As I have stated before, money was advanced to this company during the War to enable it to provide the Government with certain materials which were vitally necessary for war purposes, and advances were made for the same purpose in a great number of cases. As previously explained by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after careful consideration it was thought that the best manner of securing repayment of the sums advanced to the company was for the Government to accept shares in lieu of the debentures and other charges which it already held. I may add that, as I instanced yesterday, the Government became shareholders in several companies during the course of the War.