§ 35. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether consent has been given to a British Government guarantee being granted under the Trade Facilities Act for £2,500,000 for the Blue Star Line, Limited, an ally and off-shoot of the Union Cold Storage Company, Limited, and of Messrs. Vestey, Brothers, for the construction of steamships with refrigerated cargo space for the carriage of meat owned by the Union Cold Storage Company or one of Messrs. Vestey's concerns; whether the Treasury has been satisfied that the Union Cold Storage Company, or Messrs. Vestey, or the Blue Star Line are unable to raise £2,500,000 on their own credit without Government guarantee; and whether the Blue Star Line would have been unable to give orders for the construction of these 613 vessels at the present time without the assistance of a British Government guarantee?
Subject to the reservation that the meat carried is not necessarily owned by the Union Cold Storage Company or any concern of Messrs. Vestey, the answer to all parts of the question is in the affirmative.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that evidence was given before the Food Commission showing that the formation of a vertical trust in the meat trade is in process, and is this not assisting such a formation at the public expense?
§ Commander BELLAIRS
Is there a stipulation that British material shall be used, and is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in other instances under the Trade Facilities Act British material has not been used?
If the hon. and gallant Member will give me any details of such cases, I shall be glad to look into them, but, as he is aware, precautions are taken as far as possible to see that orders are placed to their fullest possible extent for British materials.
Is this issue identical with an issue that was offered to the public and under-subscribed?
I do not know the details of the issue made to the public, but the Trade Facilities Committee were satisfied that it would not have been possible to put this transaction through without the Government guarantee; therefore, as I have said, the answer to the last part of the question is in the affirmative.