HC Deb 15 March 1920 vol 126 cc1847-8W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether he can give any further information concerning the sale by the Disposal Board to the Salt Union, Limited, of the Victoria Works, Wincham; whether these works were the property of the Salt Union before the War; whether they were taken over by the Ministry of Munitions under a contract providing that they should be handed back by the Ministry after the War in as good working condition as before; whether the strict enforcement of this condition by the Salt Union would have cost the Ministry of Munitions many thousands of pounds; whether, in fact, the Salt Union waived their rights under the contract, and whether by the arrangement which was thereupon made for the purchase by the Salt Union for £60,000 of the works constructed on their land by the Ministry a saving of many thousands of pounds was effected to the taxpayer; whether a public auction of the movable plant and material was held by the Salt Union, realising about £34,000; and whether injustice has been done to the Salt Union by the allegations in this House that nearly £60,000 was realised at a private sale and by other misstatements concerning the sale of these works by the Ministry?


The Victoria Works, Wincham, were the property of the Salt Union, Limited, before the War. Under the terms of the agreement with the Salt Union, the Ministry of Munitions undertook "to leave the works in a condition as well adapted for the manufacture of fishery salt as the same were in on the 1st January, 1916." Under the conditions of sale the Government and the taxpayers were relieved from this obligation, and thereby saved many thousands of pounds. I am informed by the company that the greater part of the plant and material were sold by public auction, and that the amount realised was £34,700. As to the last part of the question, the Ministry is satisfied that the arrangement made with the Salt Union was the best that could be made in the national interest.