HC Deb 11 July 1887 vol 317 cc343-4
MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)

asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether he is aware that three more sugar refineries have recently closed their doors, throwing about 2,000 men out of employment; and, whether he will consent to the Returns relating to Sugar Refineries and to Sugar Bounties, of which Notice has been given?

THE SECRETARY (Baron HENRY DE WORMS) (Liverpool, East Toxteth)

The Board of Trade have no information as to the closing of the three refineries referred to by the hon. Member, except what has appeared in the Press; but they have no reason to doubt the correctness of the general statement, though as to the exact number of persons thrown out of employment they have no knowledge. It would be impossible to give the return of which the hon. Member has given Notice. As to the main part of it—namely, the number and names of sugar refineries closed in the United Kingdom, the capital represented by them, & c, the Board have no official information, except what was given before the Sugar Bounties Committee of 1879–80, which was most incomplete, and not in a form that could be adapted to a Return; and it would be impossible to obtain the necessary information, if it could be procured at all, without inquiries of a most inquisitorial character. As to the bounties given by Foreign Governments, the amount of such bounties is also a matter which it is impossible to ascertain with any approach to accuracy, and it would be undesirable to give a merely estimated figure; but the consumption and wholesale prices could be given. I regret, therefore, that I cannot grant the Return asked for by the hon. Member.