asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been drawn to a memorandum with regard to the disposal of Gretna factory circulated to Members by the Annan Town Council, in particular to the statement that a syndicate composed of men of high repute and substance was prepared to launch out a large sum upon the acquisition of the property; and, if so, whether he intends to take any official action in the matter?
My attention has been called to your council's memorandum to Members of Parliament, dated the 15th instant, regarding Gretna factory. The statement in that memorandum, that the Government has modified its position, or changed its policy, has no foundation in fact. That statement has been publicly contradicted already.
I am very anxious to receive the offer for the whole of Gretna, but, as I have already explained, the Commission is unable to wait indefinitely. You will remember the property has been advertised for disposal as a whole for quite nine months, and up to the present time those of whom you speak in your letter have not made any definite proposal whatever.
Without going further into a discussion of questions that may very well be set aside for the time being as of a more or less controversial nature, and as to which the council may be moved to make such representation as they deem necessary from time to time, the council desire me to say that in what they have done they have been actuated by a desire to see removed any obstacle that seemed to prevent an agreement between the Disposal Board and the proposed purchasers. The council have reason to believe that the Disposal Board were, in September and December of last year, in correspondence with a firm on behalf of the syndicate referred to, and the council had hoped that a resumption of the negotiations might have resulted in something satisfactory to the county and district. They ask me to express the hope that something may yet be done.