§ 61 and 86. Mr. JOHN DENNIS
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether a licence to import 200 tons of muriate of potash has been applied for by the West Norfolk Farmers' Manure Company, Limited, a farmers' co-operative association; whether such licence has been refused, the applicant being referred to the British Potash Company; whether any valid reason exists for the restriction of trade liberty in the importation of this fertiliser; and whether, in the event of the applicant being forced to buy from the rival concern named, he will undertake that the cost of this fertiliser in King's Lynn to the applicant shall not exceed its contract price with the Alsace-Lorraine trading company for the 200 tons in question;
(2)the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that muriate of potash is required for the manufacture of compound root manures; whether the West Norfolk Farmers' Manure Company, Limited, whose output is 20,000 tons of manure per annum, is not permitted to import muriates for their manufacture; whether, in order to get the required production for next year's crop, its manufacture must be at once proceeded with; and whether any shortage in production must have a detrimental effect on the 1920 crops of potatoes and other roots;
(3)the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the West Norfolk Farmers' Manure Company, Limited, of King's Lynn, is unable to employ its plant and men owing to its inability to obtain a licence to import muriate of potash already contracted for and now awaiting shipment at Rotterdam; whether its works are on the point of being closed down in consequence, entailing a large number of men being thrown out of employment; and whether he can take any steps to avert this calamity?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
The application from the company was dated 11th August, and has not yet been replied to. The requirements of the company will be filled by the British Potash Company, who hold a licence for the higher grade of potash salt referred to. The Alsace-Lorraine Trading 1884 Company do not import the higher grade salts, and if the West Norfolk Farmers' Manure Company, Limited, have contracted to buy an import-prohibited article they should have first assured themselves that a licence would be issued. At the same time, it is probable that the muriate, which will arrive in the course of the next day or two, will be delivered at a price at least as favourable as that at which it could be obtained from the Alsace company. That price will be the f.a.s. price at Rotterdam, as fixed by international agreement, plus incidental expenses.
§ Mr. DENNIS
Will the price added to the f.a.s. price Rotterdam be the freight price direct Rotterdam to King's Lynn, or will it be freight Rotterdam to London plus freight from London? Cannot it be imported direct to King's Lynn?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
I should require notice of that before answering with absolute certainty, but I know of no reason why it should not be brought direct to King's Lynn.