HC Deb 18 August 1919 vol 119 cc1881-3
1. Colonel YATE

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps have been taken to prevent the import of plumage into this country the export of which has been prohibited from any portion of the British Empire?


No feathers beyond those specified in the answer given to the hon. and gallant Member on the 20th February last have been made the subject of absolute embargo. As the hon. and gallant Member will realise, the object he has in view would more properly be attained by special legislation for the purpose than by an adaptation of the import restrictions. The whole matter is under consideration.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state the number of persons who were employed by his Department in the Imports Restriction branch on the 31st December last and the number that are being employed to-day; what buildings they occupy at the present time; and what the estimated cost of this branch of his Department will be for the present year?


The number of staff employed at the London offices of the Department of Import Restrictions was 123 on the 31st December last and 108 on the 1st August of this year. The Department occupies fifteen rooms at No. 22, Carlisle Place, Westminster, and six rooms at No. 16, Carlisle Mansions, Westminster. In addition, the Department has a Paris branch accommodated at No. 10, Place Edouard VII., the staff of which numbered nine on the 31st December and eight on the 30th June. The estimated expenditure for the current year is £22,525. I am arranging to amalgamate the Import Restrictions and Export Licence Department and hope to make a considerable reduction in the joint staff as against the number employed separately by the two Departments.

12. Mr. KILEY

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can give the names of the members of the Committee who advise him in matters concerning the restrictions of imports and exports?


The Committee which is at present considering these matters is composed as follows: Chairman—President of the Board of Trade; Members—the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Secretary of State for War and Air, President of the Board of Education, Minister of Labour, Minister of Pensions, First Commissioner of Works, and my right hon. Friend the Member for the Gorbals Division in his capacity as Minister without portfolio.


Does it meet?


Oh, yes; twice last week.


Are we to understand that these men are trade experts?


No, Sir; but they judge the evidence given by those who are trade experts.


Is the First Commissioner of Works employed by reason of his office or by reason of his economic views?

13. Mr. KILEY

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is prepared, when granting licences in connection with import restrictions, to fix a reasonable mar gin of profit in order to prevent excessive profiteering?


I venture to suggest to my hon. Friend that he will find that the statement to be made by the Prime Minister to-day will, in fact, give a much fuller answer than would be possible within the limits of a reply to a question.

14. Mr. KILEY

asked the President of the Board pi Trade if the Consolidated List of Import Restrictions, revised to date and published in the "Board of Trade Journal" of 31st July, 1919, applies to all countries, or if special exceptions are made concerning imports from France and Italy; and, if so, can all variations be published in the "Board of Trade Journal"?


The list applies generally to all countries, but special concessions have been given to France and Italy. In the event of a further edition of the list being published, I will bear the hon. Member's suggestion in mind.


Could the variations week by week be given in the "Board of Trade Journal," so that those traders who are interested may know what concessions their competitors are getting of which they have no knowledge?


I will consider that.