§ 50. Sir FRANK NELSON
asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that, following upon the announcement of a Government inquiry into the rubber export restriction scheme, the value of crude rubber has now fallen by approximately £60 per ton, and that the resultant losses to British merchants on stocks of crude rubber and to shareholders in the depreciation of shares total at least £50,000,000; and will he now reconsider representing to the Committee of Civil Research that an interim Report shall be submitted, in an endeavour to restore some measure of confidence to the industry?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to a similar question by my hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Sir W. Lane Mitchell) on Monday last.
§ Sir F. NELSON
May I ask, with great respect, whether my right hon. Friend can give me an answer to the first part of my question; whether the Government agree with the figures I have quoted; and, further, whether the Prime Minister is aware that there is a very widespread opinion, not only in the rubber industry but in all the ancillary trades, that however desirable it may be—and it is desirable—that the rubber restriction scheme 1513 should be examined, the present time has been a deplorably inopportune one; and is the Prime Minister further aware that the losses inflicted on some of the small investors are already such as to mean practically or wholly ruin?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
It is our knowledge of the fact that a certain amount of dislocation of this kind has been caused that is making us use every endeavour to expedite the inquiry, so that the industry may be left in a state of uncertainty as short a time as possible.
Major-General Sir ROBERT HUTCHISON
When does the right hon. Gentleman expect the Report from this Committee, and will the Report be made public?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with the statement that his action has cost the investors £50,000,000?
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the many questions addressed to Members on this subject show a widespread anxiety?
§ Colonel HOWARD-BURY
Is it not the state of uncertainty which is causing all the damage, and has my right hon. Friend consulted the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to what effect this will have on his Budget?