HC Deb 21 December 1925 vol 189 cc1945-6
45. Captain ARTHUR EVANS

asked the Prime Minister if he is yet in a position to state whether any decision has yet been arrived at by the Civil Research Committee in respect of the iron and steel industry?

52. Mr. REMER

asked the Prime Minister if he can now state the decision of the Government as to the application of the steel industry for protection under the Safeguarding of Industries Act; and if he has received a memorandum from the leading steel manufacturers to the effect that unless something is done quickly a financial crisis will arise?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

The application of the iron and steel trades to the Board of Trade for the appointment of a Committee under the Safeguarding of Industries procedure was referred to the Committee of Civil Research, and its Report has been received by the Cabinet. The Civil Research Committee has given the subject prolonged and detailed consideration, and has heard a large number of witnesses, representing employers and employed, engaged in the iron and steel industries and in allied trades. The evidence revealed a serious situation. The pressure of foreign competition, aided by long hours, low wages and depreciated currencies, is being severely felt by our manufacturers, and had His Majesty's Government been able to deal with the iron and steel industries in isolation we might have regarded the case for inquiry as complete. It became Clear, however, in the course of our investigations, that the safeguarding of a basic industry of this magnitude would I have repercussions of a far wider character which might be held to be in conflict with our declaration in regard to a general tariff. In all the circum-stances of the present time, we have come to the conclusion that the application cannot be granted. The Government will keep these industries under close observation with a view to promoting their well-being should any other measures be deemed desirable. It is hoped that the loan for railway development in East Africa which was recently approved will be found helpful, and further similar projects are under consideration.


Has the Prime Minister received the memorandum referred to in the last part of my question?


Yes, Sir.


In view of his answer, might I ask if he would arrange for a Debate on this subject before we adjourn?


Is it the intention to publish the evidence taken during the investigations of this Committee?


No, Sir.

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