HC Deb 05 April 1927 vol 204 cc1852-4
15. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to the steps taken in certain foreign countries, and particularly in the United States of America, to prevent overproduction and consequent trade depressions by the careful collection of statistics showing stocks of goods in hand, probable consumption, forward contracts and anticipated outputs, and the circulation to manufacturers of the figures after analysis; and whether he has considered the possibility of similar information being collected and prepared in this country?


Yes, Sir; I am aware of the statistics to which the hon. and gallant Member refers, and my Department has been discussing with various industries the possibility of further industrial statistics being collected in this country.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Would my right hon. Friend be kind enough to let me know when he comes to this very important matter?


May I ask whether any useful purpose is served by preparing these statistics, when foreign manufacturers are free to flood our markets with goods in competition with our own manufacturers?


With regard to the first Supplementary Question, a good deal is already being done. In the cotton trade, for instance, a great deal of progress is being made, and I hope that in most important industries there will be means of keeping the Census of Production up to date. With regard to the second Supplementary Question, I think it is of value to industries in this country to know what the production is and in many cases, where it can be disclosed without prejudice, what the stocks are.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the United States, where this thing has been greatly developed, it is not only a census of production that is prepared, but also a forecast of consumption as nearly as this can be predicted?


I am aware of that, but I think manufacturers who are up in their businesses in this country are quite as good at forecasting consumption as anybody else. I think it is of value in many cases to have a knowledge of what is the capacity of production and what the stocks are.


Is it not a fact that the present state of trade depression is owing to the action of many hon. Members above the Gangway?


Is it in order for an hon. Member to make insinuations against hon. Members of this party?


Matters of opinion should come in Debate, and not at Question Time.