HC Deb 13 February 1922 vol 150 c570
22. Mr. BRIANT

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the total number of objections lodged with his Department as to articles alleged by the complainants to have been either included or excluded improperly from the lists issued by the Board of Trade defining the commodities dutiable under the Key Industries Schedule; how many of these objections have at present been laid before the Official Referee or Committees; how many have been disposed of; and what arrangements are being made for ensuring that the rest of the cases will be disposed of within a reasonable time?


The Board of Trade have received, under Section 1, Sub-section 5, of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, formal notices of complaint, in respect of the inclusion in the lists issued by the Board of some 380 commodities, of which about 360 are covered by complaints from 2 associations of traders. Complaints in respect of exclusion from the lists have been received in respect of some 160 commodities, of which about 150 are covered by a complaint from an association of manufacturers. I must point out, however, that it is not certain that all these complaints will be proceeded with, and that so far the formal statements required by the Referee as to the precise grounds on which the complaints are based have been furnished in respect of only 16 commodities. Of these, 3 have been heard by the Referee, and one is in process of hearing. I hope that it will be possible to expedite future hearings, and that when a comparatively small number of representative cases have been decided it may be practicable to determine the other eases rapidly.


Can the right hon. Gentleman estimate when the Referee is likely to hear these cases? Is it a matter of years.


I would not go so far as that.

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