HC Deb 17 March 1925 vol 181 cc2043-7

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he intends to set up a panel from which to select the members of Committees under the Safeguard of Industries proposals, and, if not, what plan he intends to adopt?


I do not think any useful purpose would be served by setting up a panel, but suitable persons will be selected to serve on Committees as occasions arise.

14. Mr. T. THOMSON

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has yet appointed any committees under the new plan for the safeguarding of industries?

16. Major CRAWFURD

asked the President of the Board of Trade what applications have been received for inquiries under the plan for the safeguarding of industries?


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will supply a list of industries which applied for safeguarding under Part II since the inception of the 1921 Act?

24. Colonel BURTON

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade what progress is being made with the safeguarding of industries; how many trades have applied for safeguard- ing; and how many applications have been granted and how many refused since the constitution of the present Government?


As I have already stated in this House, I do not think it would be expedient to give information as to applications, whether under the Act of 1921, or under the new proposals of the Government, other than those referred to committees of inquiry. In this I am adhering to the practice under the Safeguarding of Industries Act. The application of machine-made lace and machine-made embroidery has been referred to a Committee, as already announced. The Board have also decided to refer an application in respect of superphosphate to a Committee, and a formal announcement of the appointment of this Committee will be made to-morrow. I will have a list of applications referred to Committees under the Act of 1921 circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


For the convenience of the House, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he would give us a report from time to time of the applications as they come in, without any waiting?


No, certainly not. As I explained very fully to the House and following the precedent under the earlier Act, I only propose to publish information about inquiries actually referred to the Committee.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is it always announced as soon as an application is referred to the Committee? Are we always informed of that?


Certainly. When the Committee is set up a notice is published in the Press.


Are there any reasons why an industry which is applying to be safeguarded should have that application kept secret until it is referred to the Committee? Surely we ought to know.


There are two very good reasons. In the first place, it is desirable that there should be no more time elapsing than is necessarily occupied between the reference to the Committee and the making of the Report and action in this House if action is to be taken. In the second place, I think it is very unfair on the industry if it makes an application and it is turned down that that fact should be made public.

Following is the list referred to:

Fabric gloves and glove fabric for the manufacture of fabric gloves.

Domestic, illuminating and mounting glassware.

Wrought and enamelled hollow-ware.

Aluminium hollow-ware.

Gas mantles.

Plain and enamelled baths.

Optical elements and optical and other scientific instruments.

Glass bottles.

Wire nails.


Gold leaf.

Gold and aluminium bronze powders.

Snap fasteners and books and eyes.

Vulcanised fibre.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in the event of Parliament imposing import duties under the safeguarding scheme to counteract unfair competition, as provided in Clause 5 of Instructions to Committees, provision will be made for the abrogation of such duties if and when the causes of such unfair competition, as reported by the Committees, cease to operate?


If the hon. Member will refer to the White. Paper, he will see that it is intended that any duties which may be imposed in consequence of the recommendations of Committees shall be imposed by a Finance Act. They will be for such period and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed in such Act in each case.

20. Mr. SMITH

also asked the President of the Board of Trade whether an industry using in production goods of a class for which a safeguarding duty is claimed will have its case automatically considered by the relative Committee under Instruction No. 7, or whether it will be necessary for the damnified industry to be present, by counsel or otherwise, in order to prove its ease against the proposed duty?


Full opportunity will be given for any using industry that may consider itself likely to be affected by the imposition of a duty to bring its case to the attention of the relevant Committee, in such manner as it may think proper.


My question relates to the case of an industry which is not organised and could not bear the expense. What is the provision for dealing with that case?


I think that any industry which really has a claim as a material-using industry is quite in a position to bring its case before the Committee.


If the names of industries making application are to be kept secret, how can subsidiary industries within them make an application to be heard, when they do not know which industry is applying?


But they do know, because, as soon as an application is referred to a Committee, that is published, and it is only in that case that a using industry is interested.

Lieut - Commander KENWORTHY

May I ask whether the term "damnified," used in the question, is a correct term to use? What is the meaning of the word "damnified"?


It is a classical term.

21. Mr. L. SMITH

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether interests who are not permitted to give evidence before a Committee appointed under the safeguarding scheme may appear by counsel who shall have the right of cross-examination?


No, Sir. It is not intended that the Committee should be compelled to hear counsel on behalf of persons whose evidence is not in the opinion of the Committee relevant to their inquiry.


In the case of an industry which is not in fact used by some other industry, how are the facts relating to the applying industry to be brought out?


By the relevant evidence. The position, really, is quite clear. The Committee have to find certain facts, and any evidence relevant to those facts the Committee will be entitled to hear, and to hear counsel upon it. I do not propose that the Committee should be burdened with cross-examination by counsel on matters that are not relevant to the inquiry.


I understand that the only industries which can, appear are those using the goods of the industry applying under the Act, and, if no such industry is using the goods, how can it appear to cross-examine?


The facts as regards an industry using the goods are relevant in so far as there is a claim that a duty would damnify an industry which is using the goods. If no industry uses the production of the industry applying, obviously evidence on that point is irrelevant; but it would be perfectly relevant to submit rebutting evidence on the ground of either efficiency or foreign conditions.


But who will submit that evidence?

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