HC Deb 24 March 1925 vol 182 cc209-17

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether instructions to committees under the safeguarding scheme which may be drawn up, other than those laid down in the White Paper, will be issued?


I do not propose to issue any further instructions to committees at present.


Have people been asking for any further particulars in addition to those already given and if so, have such particulars been supplied?


I do not quite understand what the hon. Gentleman means by "people asking for particulars." If an industry puts in an application and does not supply all the information, they are required to submit that information.


If any further instructions are given to the Committee, will the House be consulted?


Oh, yes, if I gave any new instructions to the Committees I should certainly publish them, in the same way as I published the White Paper, but I think the White Paper contains all the instructions which the Committees need or require.

7. Mr. DREWE

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has yet come to any conclusion respecting the application of the National Association of Fabric Glove Manufacturers, dated 4th February, making application to come under the Safeguarding of Industries Act?


asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of applications he has received for assistance under the safeguarding of industries policy to date; and how many of them he has approved?


I will answer these questions together. I would refer the hon. Members to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson) and others on the 17th March, of which I am sending them copies.

Captain BENN

Why is the right hon. Gentleman not able to say frankly what applications are made; and is he not aware that these applications are widely stated in the trade papers?


No, Sir. I have explained to the House both in Debate and at Question Time the reason why I do not propose to give information—following the precedent of the previous Act—about pending applications. To those I adhere.


Is not the Board of Trade subject to this House, and is not this House entitled to be kept fully informed of everything the Board of Trade is doing?


No, Sir. The House is entitled to challenge administration through the ordinary channels. We had a Debate on this matter and the whole procedure was explained and endorsed.

Captain BENN

Is the intention to conceal information, so as to give an advantage to one side?


asked the President of the Board of Trade the date when the Committee appointed under the Safeguarding of Industries Act will meet for consideration of the claims of lace producers in this country for a duty on imported lace; and if sufficient time will be allowed for those who are in opposition to such proposals to prepare their case and instruct, their counsel?


The first public sitting has been announced for Monday, the 30th March. I have no doubt that there will be reasonable time for those who are appearing in opposition

The following STATEMENT shows the Quantity and Value of Scientific Instruments and Appliances (except electrical) registered as imported into the United Kingdom during each of the years 1922, 1923, and 1924.
Article. Unit of Quantity. 1922. 1923. 1924.
Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value.
£ £ £
Scientific instruments and appliances (except electrical):—
Dental, surgical, medical and veterinary instruments and appliances (except optical): Instruments Value only. 26,675 41,959 47,510
Appliances, including trusses and artificial limbs, but excluding artificial eyes. Value only. 9,514 17,098 17,089
Furniture, asceptic, hospital. Value only. 9,674 13,299 16,357
Other sorts, including general dental goods (except dental platinum). Value only. 49,661 76,347 84,263
Photographic (not including lenses):
Cameras Number 281,797 120,353 396,973 154,749 438,843 167,762
Cinematograph and projection apparatus (including magic lanterns). Value only. 29,969 31,847 30,567
Sensitised photographic paper. Value only. 97,413 101,199 116,099
Sensitised photographic plates and films. Value only. 616,787 700,665 762,452
Cinematograph films for the purpose of the exhibition of pictures or other optical effects means of a cinematograph or other similar apparatus:

to the application to prepare their case. I would remind the hon. Member that the appointment of the Committee was announced as long ago as the 11th March.


also asked the President of the Board of Trade the number and value of optical and scientific instruments imported during the years 1922, 1923, and 1924?


The answer contains a table of figures and the hon. Member will perhaps allow me to have it circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

Article.Unit of Quantity. 1922. 1923. 1924.
Quantity Value. Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value.
£ £ £
Photographic (not including lenses)—cont. Blank film on which no picture has been impressed, known as raw film or stock. Linear ft. of the standard width of 1⅜ ins. 68,050,185 251,417 97,138,776 275,202 71,500,892 229,942
Exposed films: Positives, i.e., films containing a picture and ready for exhibition. Linear ft. of the standard width of 1⅜ ins. 20,180,678 189,098 20,456,771 169,055 36,431,646 245,949
Negatives, i.e., films containing a photograph from which positives can be printed. Linear ft. of the standard width of 1⅜ ins. 7,370,893 535,473 7,240,332 670,959 6,691,686 683,367
Other photographic and cinematograph appliances, not elsewhere specified (excluding photographic chemicals). Value only. 85,385 62,468 77,451
Optical instruments and appliances:
Lenses, prisms, etc., optically worked, mounted or unmounted (including those imported with complete instruments). Number 7,489,532 194,743 8,473,164 229,495 7,211,445 224,886
Bodies for telescopes, microscopes and other instruments for holding lenses. Number 1,269,37941,908 1,681,454 56,217 1,306,999 73,998
Other scientific instruments and appliances: Precision balances Value only. 7,238 7,336 5,785
Gauges Number 19,657 11,326 26,633 14,069 33,314 18,342
Mathematical instruments. Value only. 8,554 10,154 9,929
Slide rules, calculating discs and cylinders. Value only. 3,448 2,822 2,793
Other descriptions not elsewhere specified. Value only. 87,370 141,051 193,365
TOTAL of scientific instruments and appliances and parts thereof (except electrical). Value only. 2,376,006 2,775,991 3,007,906
NOTE.—As from 1st April, 1923, the figures are inclusive of imports from the Irish Free State and exclusive of direct imports into the Irish Free State from places outside the British Isles.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, on receipt of applications from particular industries who desire committees of inquiry to be established under the safeguarding of industries procedure, he will be prepared to undertake to give his decision within a period of not more than one month?


Applications will be dealt with as expeditiously as possible, but I am unable to give any undertaking as to the precise period within which a decision will be reached in every case.

13. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many of the 7,927 consignments sampled by the Customs, and analysed by the Government chemist, under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, 1921, during the year ended 31st March, 1924, were found to be liable to duty under this Act?


I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my answer of the 10th March to his previous question in precisely the same terms on this subject.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is not the real answer that over 4,000 of these consignments were found to be non-dutiable, and why cannot we have that information?


I have not got that information.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have the information from a recognised source? [HON. MEMBERS: Why ask for it?"]


I do not feel justified in putting civil servants on a task of that kind which, on the hon. and gallant. Member's own admission, can only be used for propagandist purposes.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Why not?

17. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to the fact that the key industries duties come to an end in the autumn of next year, he as prepared to consider applications for safeguarding of industries protection from associations of manufacturers who at present enjoy key industries protection; and whether consideration of such applications will be deferred until such date as His Majesty's Government has decided what it will do in regard to the renewal or otherwise of the Key Industries Schedule?


The conditions in which applications under the safeguarding procedure may be made are set out in the White Paper, and I do not propose to modify them. But it is the intention of the Government to review the position of the industries engaged in the production of the articles scheduled to the Safeguarding of Industries Act in good time before the expiry of the relevant provisions of that Act.

24. Mr. L. SMITH

asked the President of the Board of Trade what provision will be made under the safeguarding of industries scheme to cross-examine witnesses in cases where the industry asking for protection produces finished articles?


Committees will be entitled to hear such evidence as they may consider relevant to the particular matters referred to them for inquiry, and to allow cross-examination by the representatives of the interests tendering such evidence.


Is not the right of cross-examination confined, by the right hon. Gentleman's White Paper, to industries using goods produced by the trade which is asking for safeguarding; and what would be the position in the case of a trade producing finished goods where no industry uses such goods?


No, it is not confined to that. The White Paper treats certain matters as relevant, and on all these matters evidence can be tendered for or against, and, on these matters, cross-examination can be allowed—not otherwise.


Is not provision made for cross-examination on all the facts?


The hon. Member should put that question down.

25. Mr. WELLS

asked the President of the Board of Trade the nature of the discrimination which Austria has recently adopted against goods produced in countries under unsatisfactory labour conditions?


The Austrian Customs Tariff Law of last year authorises the Austrian Government to increase by not more than 33⅓ per cent. the customs duties On industrial products from countries which have not ratified the Washington Agreement of 1919 on Hours of Labour, and in which the hours of labour are obviously not in accordance with that Agreement. I have no information of any increases in customs duties or other measures which the Austrian Government has actually adopted in this connection, but I will have inquiry made and inform my hon. Friend of the result.

28. Mr. MORRIS

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that on the occasion of the sate-guar ding of industries inquiries, 1922, precautions were taken by importers those trades were Likely to be affected to expedite delivery of large import consignments, which created a glut on the market; and whether, on the present occasion, he is proposing to take steps to render this impossible?


I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Mr. Dixey) on the 17th February, of which I am sending him a copy.