HC Deb 01 December 1931 vol 260 cc910-1

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that imports of coal from this country into France as from the 1st December, 1931, are to be further restricted to 72 per cent. of the average imports for the three years 1928, 1929, and 1930; and can he now state the result of the representations made by his Department to the French Government on this matter?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second part, the reduced quota applies to coal imported into France by other countries as well as by the United Kingdom. In this respect, therefore, there is no discrimination against this country, and, as is implied in the statement made on 16th November by my hon. and gallant Friend, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) the question of making representations does not arise. I presume, however, that the hon. Member has in mind the representations which have recently been addressed to the French Government with regard to the 15 per cent. Surtax. No reply has yet been received to these representations.


Can the hon. Gentleman give any idea how many mine workers will be unemployed as a result of the recent action on the part of the French Government?


I think that some estimate could be given as to the reduced tonnage, but, as to the comparative unemployment caused, I could give no exact estimate.


Was this one of the subjects raised with the French Government representatives who were over here this week end?