11 FEBRUARY 1928, Page 33


Probably no more striking example could be given of the power and ability of an old-established industry to stand up to new inventions threatening it than is afforded by the instance of the Gas Light and Coke Company. Years ago, when the electric light was introduced into our homes, the death knell of the gas industry was supposed to have been sounded, and there were periods when holders of gas stocks were inclined to sell in panicky fashion. Nevertheless, not only hai the gas industry held its own, but in the case of the Gas Light and Coke Company, and, indeed, in some other kindred concerns, revenues are greater than ever, and the _volume of gas supplied exceeds all records. In the case of the Gas Light and Coke Company, however, the satisfactory story which the Governor, Sir David Milne- Watson, LL.D. D.L., was able to lay before the stockholders is the more striking because the company had to withstand the after-effects of the prolonged coal stoppage, the cost of coal being £170,000 greater than in the previous year, CO-PARTNERSIT.

On the other hand, there was an increase in the revenue from gas of £557,000, due partly to increased price, but also to an increase in business of nearly 3 per cent. Moreover, although the price of gas was high at the beginning of the year it was reduced three times during the year, and at the meeting the Governor announced a further impending reduction. Indeed, it is stated that the price has now been reduced to the lowest figure charged since the war. Sir David also made some interesting observations with regard to co- operation between capital and labour, and remarks on that subject at the annual meetings of the Gas Light and Coke Company always command attention and respect, if only by reason of the pioneer work done by the company in the introduction of the co-partnership principle. It has been in existence in the ease of this company for some nineteen years, and the Governor stated at the annual meeting that to-day these co-partners hold £750,000 of the Ordinary stock. It is satisfactory to learn, as it also is certainly fitting, that Sir David Milne-Watson is among those who are taking part in the general industrial conferences between representative employers and trade-union leaders

A. W. K.