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Sir Auckland Geddes: I have been asked to reply. I venture to think that the investigation so far made do not bear out my Noble Friend's suggestion, and would refer him to the reports of the Sub-Committees under the Profiteering Act which have enquired into the tobacco industry, the manufacture of sewing cotton, the fish trade, the worsted yarn industry, road transport rates, and the farriery trade. I believe,...
Sir Auckland Geddes: They are undoubtedly a contributory element, but it would not be, I think fair to say that they are largely responsible. The main thing undoubtedly is the fall in the commodity value of gold, due to the accumulation of gold in one country.
Sir Auckland Geddes: No.
Sir Auckland Geddes: The international Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property does not provide that absolute reciprocity should be given by the contracting countries, as regards the manner in which such property is protected in the various countries; but each country, which is a party to the Convention, undertakes to protect industrial property and give the same protection to the nationals of the...
Sir Auckland Geddes: I have not heard of rumours of unseaworthiness. The vessel was thoroughly surveyed by Board of Trade surveyors before she sailed and was granted a passenger certificate. This is only given when the vessel is, in the opinion of the surveyors, fit in every respect for the intended service.
Sir Auckland Geddes: Yes, Sir; I do happen to know a good deal about the "Patricia" from a private letter from passengers who landed at Marseilles. She is pretty crowded. She was taken far out into the Atlantic on the outward voyage to keep clear of the Bay. The people on board were not perhaps very comfortable. But there does not seem to be any doubt as to the seaworthiness of the vessel.
Sir Auckland Geddes: Well, Sir, that point is really answered by what I have said. I have not heard any rumours of unseaworthiness.
Sir Auckland Geddes: The vessel is being run by the Government.
Sir Auckland Geddes: In common with all other local committees the Surbiton Local Committee were asked to display posters in which it was stated that complaints must be lodged with the local committee within four days of the sale forming the subject of the complaint. The Regulations give local committees a discretion to extend the time in individual cases to. 14 days.
Sir Auckland Geddes: I have been asked to reply. I am aware of the voluntary scheme proposed by the boot and shoe trade. I am at present trying to arrange similar voluntary schemes in some other trades.
Sir Auckland Geddes: It depends what the hon. Member regards as the successful working of the Act. If his object is to put people into prison, the French Act may be the better Act; but if his object is to keep prices down, ours is working much better.
Sir Auckland Geddes: I will answer these Questions together. Extremely difficult questions of policy are raised by these reports. In the first place, it is obvious that profits made by British companies overseas and brought to this country contribute effectively through taxation to the British Exchequer. In the second it is also obvious that the existence of such profits is a powerful factor in maintaining the...
Sir Auckland Geddes: I know the point raised, but we cannot look at this as an isolated case. Messrs. Coats' profits, as I understand the position, are, in the main almost entirely made in their export business, from businesses situated overseas and from subsidiary companies in Canada and America and elsewhere. The proposal to keep down the prices of reels of sewing thread is in practice a proposal to subsidise...
Sir Auckland Geddes: We have a Committee appointed which is doing that.
Sir Auckland Geddes: Of course, that is quite true, but where you have the value of currency changing rapidly of course the prices of commodities also change. We are here dealing with one of the most difficult questions in the whole realm of economics. We have money changing in value and we have firms making profits, not in this country, but in other countries, and the suggestion is that because they are making...
Sir Auckland Geddes: The Committee have investigated the point I was asked about, the mere question of increasing the price from 7½d. to 10d. a reel. That Committee's Report will not give any information upon the big broad general question on which, etc. A little later on I have little doubt that conversations will take place with our Allies and other countries to see if we can find any way out of it.
Sir Auckland Geddes: Some delay has arisen in calling together this Committee owing to the desirability of extending the scope of the terms of reference and the possible appointment of additional members from outside the membership of the Central Committee, but it is hoped that it will meet at an early date.
Sir Auckland Geddes: My attention has been called to the matter in question, and the necessary action has been taken to have the decision of the learned Magistrate reviewed by a Divisional Court on a case to be stated by him.
Sir Auckland Geddes: An investigation is at present proceeding into the cost of the principal building materials, including Scottish building stone, but I am advised that the Central Committee are not yet in a position to make a report.
Sir Auckland Geddes: As my hon. Friend will be aware, it is not proposed to adopt the Clearing Office scheme in the case of Austria and the provisions of that scheme for the guarantee by each Government of the debts of its nationals and for payment of interest on debts at five per cent. will accordingly not be applicable. Austrian property in this country will be chargeable with any deficit to British creditors....