HC Deb 16 February 1932 vol 261 cc1447-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any estimate has been made by his Department of the probable effects of the Import Duties Bill upon the earnings of the British shipping industry; and, if so, at what conclusions they have arrived?


It is, of course, impossible to forecast the effect upon British shipping of a scheme of duties the rates of which have still to be worked number of insolvencies for each of the periods 1st December, 1930, to 31st January, 1931, 1st October, 1931, to 30th November, 1931, and 1st December, 1931, to 31st January, 1932, as far as evidenced by the aggregate number during each such period of the orders for compulsory winding-up of companies; resolutions for the voluntary winding-up of companies on the grounds of inability to meet liabilities: receiving orders made in bankruptcy; and deeds of arrangement and deeds of composition?


With my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, I will circulate the required figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


As the number of figures is limited to three, and the present question has been so drafted as to reduce it to three, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will tell us what those figures are?


I am more generous than my hon. and gallant Friend thinks; I am giving him 15 figures.

Following are the figures:

out in detail by the Advisory Committee. I would, however, point out that, whilst a reduction in the volume of imports might lead to some loss to British shipping, the diversion of trade from foreign to Empire sources will provide some compensation, inasmuch as nearly all imports from the Empire are carried in British ships.


Is it a fact that the shipping industry itself, in the altered circumstances of the time, has asked that these import duties should now be brought into operation?


I think that the Chamber of Shipping are holding their meeting on Thursday of this week, when they are going to deal with this subject. I shall be glad to hear what they have to say.