HC Deb 28 April 1925 vol 183 c5

asked the President of the Board of Trade in connection with the White Paper (Cmd. 2327) issued in relation to the safeguarding of industries, and the instructional memorandum, dated 5th February, 1925, issued by the Board of Trade, what are the criteria which determine whether an industry is of substantial importance on account of the nature of the goods produced; what is the minimum number of persons to whom an industry must give employment to entitle it to be regarded as of substantial importance on account of the volume of employment; to what extent is it competent for industries to make combined application in order to satisfy the requirements as to the volume of employment; and whether he accepts the fact that an industry is governed by a Trade Board as evidence that the trade is of substantial importance.


The circumstances of each particular ease must be considered, and I do not think anything would be gained by attempting to lay down in advance any absolute criteria by which to determine substantial importance. As I informed my hon. Friend on the 19th February, the fact that a Trade Board has been established in an industry cannot be accepted as conclusive evidence. As regards the third part of the question, I see no reason why industries which in respect of their products are cognate, or so closely related that they can reasonably be regarded as an entity, should not make a combined application.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say who decides whether or not an industry is of substantial importance: has he to decide himself?


In the first place, on aprima facieapplication the Board of Trade decides; in the second place, the Committee; and in the third place, this House.