§ 50. Mr. A. WILLIAMS
asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that the sum collected under the Safeguarding of Industries Act for the six months just expired amounts only to £134,000; that to collect this amount it has entailed the detention and examination of enormous quantities of imported goods to the estimated value of many millions of pounds; and that in addition to the inconvenience caused by the delay this has added immensely to the costs known as breaking-in, breaking-out, demurrage, clearance charges, etc., all of which charges have to be incurred not alone on the dutiable goods but on all goods so detained; and whether, in view of the smallness of the amount realised, he is prepared to consider the amending or repealing of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, even if that course involves the granting of a subsidy to any commodity that may be considered essential for the safety of the Empire?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I have been asked to reply. The amount of duty collected is £141,000, but I would remind the hon. 1822 Member that the raising of revenue was not the primary object of the Act. As regards the second part of the question, in any case where liability to duty cannot be immediately determined, delivery can always be obtained on deposit of the amount of duty to which the goods may be liable. I must point out, however, that imported goods are always liable to examination by Customs, and I am advised that the more detailed examination of certain classes of goods made necessary by the Safeguarding of Industries Act has no consequences at all commensurate with those suggested by the hon. Member. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that more than half the money referred to is exacted from those who were our Allies during the Great War?