Sir J. NAIL
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the situation created by speculation in Lancashire mill undertakings involving the loss of large sums of shareholders' money in circumstances which have been adversely commented upon by the Official Receiver in bankruptcy in certain cases; whether he has received requests for a full inquiry into the circumstances of the recapitalisation of such undertakings during 1919–20; and what steps he proposes to take in the public interest?
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Requests for an inquiry have on more than one occasion been received from a body called the Lancashire Shareholders and Loan-holders Protection Association. The Board of Trade have no jurisdiction to investigate the affairs of a company which is not in liquidation, except under the provisions of Section 109 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act, 1908. The affairs of one of the companies to which reference has been made are at present being investigated by an Inspector appointed under that Section. Another company is at present in compulsory liquidation, and the Official Receiver is carrying out a full investigation into the promotion, formation and conduct of the business of that company and into the causes of its failure.