HC Deb 26 April 1926 vol 194 cc1699-700

Now I come to the famous, or notorious, McKenna Duties.




The word "notorious" is, perhaps, more in proportion. As the Committee will remember, we estimated that the result of the interim dumping, after the Budget was announced, would cost the revenue £1,000,000, but in the result the deficit is only about £400,000. The yield therefore has been above the expectation. I hope that the revenue from this source will amount to £2,500,000 in the present year. The dumping which took place before last July, and the disturbance under the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley in the previous year, make a comparison between the figures for 1924 and 1925 a matter of very great difficulty, but, broadly speaking, this may be said: imports have declined, re-exports—a comparatively small branch of the trade—have fallen substantially, and the British exports of motor cars have made a marked and substantial expansion. This is also true of musical instruments. Again, the re-imposition of the duties has not let to any general increase in price on the part of British manufacturers. On the contrary, in the classes of goods affected by the duties; in many instances the prices have fallen. Finally, I may add that so far as statistics are available, the percentage of workmen unemployed in these industries shows a reduction in recent months as compared with the corresponding figures of 12 months ago. It must be remembered, however—here again I add my word of caution—that as regards motor cars, as in the case of artificial silk, the conditions observable are those which apply to trades in a rapid and general state of expansion, through a change in world habits. It would be foolish for anyone to close his eyes to the actual facts that we have experienced in regard to these duties, but it would be imprudent to attempt to draw a general and unchanging rule from them.