HC Deb 05 October 1909 vol 11 cc1835-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the schedule of dues on goods circulated for the consideration of traders by a committee of the London Port Authority is estimated to produce an annual revenue of £1,250,000; whether this is ten times the amount estimated by the Board of Trade prior to the passage of the Port of London Act to be necessary for the improvement of the port; whether it is more than three times the amount authorised for collection under the Act; and will he represent to the Port Authority the advisability of making their schedule conform to the Act itself?


The Board of Trade have not been furnished with a copy of the Schedule. I understand it has not yet been finally settled by the Port Authority, but has merely been circulated in draft to traders by a committee of the Authority in a tentative way. I cannot say whether my hon. Friend's estimate of it is accurate. I may further remind him that the Schedule of maximum port rates on goods must by law be submitted to the Board of Trade, and that when so submitted it will form the subject of an inquiry at which all persons interested will be permitted to make objections and that it will subsequently be embodied, with any modifications which the Board may make, in a Provisional Order requiring confirmation by Parliament before it comes into force. In these circumstances I am not prepared to make any representation to the Port Authority at present.


May I ask whether it is not a fact that support from the trade of London to the Port of London Act was secured on the statements made by the Board of Trade that these dues would not exceed from £75,000 to £150,000 a year; whether the hon. Gentleman is aware that great resentment has been caused in the City by the publication of these far higher rates, and whether he will secure a copy of the circular and make representations to the Port Authority?


I am not aware of the first statement made by my hon. Friend, but, of course, if he informs me that there has been great resentment in the City of London, I am very sorry to hear it. It is the first I have heard of it. If the hon. Gentleman puts that question to me, I will make inquiries of the Port Authority as to the representations made before the Bill became law and make representations to them; but I should like the hon. Member to communicate with me before I take such steps.