HC Deb 15 May 1918 vol 106 cc387-8

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £l80,253 be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1919, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade and Subordinate Departments."—[NOTE. — £200,000 has been voted on account.]

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Albert Stanley)

Under ordinary circumstances, I should consider it my duty, and, indeed, my privilege, to take this opportunity of giving an explanation to the House of the internal trade conditions of the country, the trade conditions between this country and other parts of the Empire and foreign countries, and generally to give some indication wherein our trade conditions might require adjustment, where our trade conditions and our manufactures might be improved, and where competition affecting our trade and commerce was increasing, and, as best I could, to give some indication which would, in my opinion, have the effect of bettering the trade and industry of this country. Obviously, in present circumstances, it is impossible for me to take such a step. There are no facts and figures which I could give to-day that would be of any real benefit to those who are engaged in industry and commerce in this country. I must, therefore, content myself with submitting only a very few figures, which will illustrate the point I have made, and then pass on to a Brief review of some of the more important activities of this vast Department

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