HC Deb 14 March 1928 vol 214 cc1916-7

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the fact that it is impossible for merchants in this country to get any reliable information through any official channels as to the rates of wages paid in the iron and steel industry on the Continent of Europe, he will reconsider the conditions in the White Paper procedure with regard to applications for safeguarding duties?

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Herbert Williams)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the 12th April last, a copy of which I am sending him. I am not aware that any application for a safeguarding duty has been hindered by lack of the information to which my hon. Friend refers.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that long after the answer to which he has referred me, that is, on Monday last, the Minister of Labour stated that his Department could get no reliable figures whatever from the competing countries as to the cost of labour in the steel trade, and, in these circumstances, can he suggest how industrialists in this country engaged in that industry can possibly get the evidence required?


My answer refers to inquiries which have taken place under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, and in none of those cases, so far as I am aware, has the application been hindered by lack of that information.


Is it not the fact that, when the inquiry into the question of a safeguarding duty on cutlery was being held, the hurrying forward of that inquiry did not prevent evidence being brought from the district in Germany where the industry is carried on?


That is the case.


Will my hon. Friend represent to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade the necessity of doing away with a lot of these restrictions on safeguarding applications?