39. Dr. MURRAY
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why it happened that three parcels of Beta Eucaine arrived from Germany on the s.s. "Oranje Nassau" on 4th November and that the importers of these parcels were not advised of their arrival until the 21st November; why, when they paid on 22nd November the duty demanded by His Majesty's Customs under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, they were still unable to obtain delivery of the parcels; whether he is aware that daily applications were made to the Customs parcels post department at Mount Pleasant, who were informed that the material contained in the parcels consisted of important local anæsthetics used in surgical operations and was urgently required by hospitals; why delivery was not obtained from His Majesty's Customs until the 8th December; and whether he proposes to take steps to obviate the continuance of such delays?
The parcels in question reached the Customs on the 15th November and the notice on arrival was sent to the addressees on the 18th. Duty was paid on the 22nd, but it is regretted that owing to the transfer of this parcel post work to more commodious premises which was then proceeding, a delay occurred which was unavoidable in the circumstances. This cause of delay will not recur, and the transfer will benefit importers by reason of the possibility of accelerating delivery which it will afford.
§ Mr. KILEY
Has not the hon. Gentleman repeatedly denied that there has been any delay in the clearance of parcels due to the collection of duties under the Safeguarding of Industries Act?
No, far from it. I have always regretted the delay which has been created by the congestion of parcels, and I have always referred to this measure of the transfer to more commodious premises as one which will in future obviate delay.
§ Dr. D. MURRAY
Will the hon. Gentleman see that this matter receives special attention, because when local anæsthetics are held up in this way general anæsthetics, which involve much more danger, will have to be used, and it will add to the terrors of the dentist's chair.