HC Deb 10 November 1921 vol 148 cc600-1
47. Mr. MOSLEY

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what portion of the £14,056 of revenue collected under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act from 1st October to 28th October was paid in respect of goods imported from France?


The amount of the duty levied during the period in question on goods consigned from France was £1,563.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, seeing that the effect of having imposed a flat rate of duty on goods imported from Germany, regardelss of fluctuations in the value of the mark, is that goods now bought in Germany will pay only about a quarter of the duty payable on goods purchased at the time of the passing of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, he will consider the advisability of adopting a sliding scale of duty?

122. Mr. MOSLEY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the flat-rate duty of 33⅓ per cent. imposed under the Safeguarding of Industries Act has proved as effective in respect of imports from Germany, since the depreciation of the mark to 1,100 to the £, as was anticipated when this Act was passed into Law during a period when the mark stood at 240 to the £; whether he will state the rate of duty now necessary to counteract the bounty on exports derived from the difference between the external and internal value of Germany's currency; and how he proposes under the Act to deal with fluctuations of exchange of this nature such as have occurred in nearly every European country since the passing of the Act?


I have been asked to answer these questions. The imposition of a rate of duty varying with fluctuations in the exchanges was fully considered before the introduction of the Safeguarding of Industries Bill, but proved on examination to present grave difficulties. In view of the shortness of the time during which Part I of the Act has been in operation, and the fact that no Order has as yet been made under Part II, it would obviously be premature for me to express any opinion as to its effect.


Does the hon. Gentleman then state that the Act is as effective now when the mark is in the neighbourhood of 1,100 to the £ as was anticipated at the passing of the Act when the mark stood at 240 to the £?


No, I did not state anything of that kind.

Captain BENN

Is the Act achieving the purpose for which it was introduced and passed by this House?


Yes, I am quite satisfied that the Act will prove effective and useful, and it is already doing so. All the difficulties which the hon. Member is presenting now were present to our minds when we introduced the Bill, and it was never suggested that the German exchange was not likely to fluctuate or depreciate, but it was argued and proved that it would be impracticable to have a duty which varied every day of the week with every variation in the market.


Is it not a fact that the protection afforded by this Bill is in inverse ratio to the necessity for it?

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