§ Mr. CAIRNS
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the Anglo-Persian Oil Company asked for £4,050,000 new share capital and that investors offered £57,000,000; that £4,028,022 was paid as dividend in 1920, which represents 20 per cent. on the capital of the company, while the chairman states that 57 per cent. will be paid for the current year; and, if so, whether he will take steps to call on such companies to help other industries, such as mines and agriculture, seeing that the Government got from mines £758,000,000 during the inflation of coal prices and in view of the reductions of wages which have taken place subsequently?
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not aware whether all the figures quoted in the question are accurate. He cannot consider the course suggested in the last part of the question as practicable. Prosperous companies contribute to the general revenue of this country by taxation, and he has no authority to ask them to make further voluntary contributions to depressed industries, if that is the suggestion which the hon. Member's question is intended to convey.