HC Deb 09 February 1922 vol 150 cc338-9W

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the position of the Western Counties Shipping Company; whether he is aware that an attempt is being made to get an agreed winding-up order; whether he is aware that a large sum of money has not been accounted for, in consequence of which very strong feeling exists amongst the shareholders; and whether he will take steps to ensure that a public inquiry shall be held?


asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the condition of the shareholders in what was known as the Western Counties Shipping Line, Cardiff; if he will direct a full investigation into the prospectuses and management of this company and into the company's accounts and trading; if he will ascertain whether the payment of the dividend was made from profits or capital, and consider other questions affecting the shareholders in the company; if he is aware that £30,000 has been lost by people, mostly working-class people, in one constituency in this company; and if he will take steps to protect poor people's investments in future?


The answer to the first part of these questions is in the affirmative. The Board of Trade have no jurisdiction to investigate the affairs of any company which is not in liquidation except under the provisions of Section 109 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act, 1908, on the application of members holding not less than one-tenth of the shares issued. I have no information as to an attempt to get an agreed winding-up order, but in the event of an order being made by the Court for the winding up of the company, all matters relating to the conduct of the company's business, including the payment of dividends, will be investigated by the Official Receiver.