HC Deb 23 July 1934 vol 292 cc1523-4
30 and 31. Mr. WISE

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he is aware that the imports of electrical goods during the first six monts of 1934 reached a value of £1,313,923, as compared with £896,501 in the corresponding period of 1933, an increase of 46.5 per cent.; and whether he will make inquiries as to the effect of this increased importation on employment in the industry;

(2)whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that in the case of hardware, machinery, typewriters, cotton yarns, undergarments, cotton underwear, tissue paper, furniture and cabinet-ware, and builders' woodwork the imports are more than 50 per cent. Higher in the January-June period of 1934 than they were in the January-June period of 1933; and whether he will take steps to investigate the cause of this increase in imports and the effect on the emloyment situation in those industries?


I am aware of the increase in imports to which my hon. Friend refers. Owing to differences of classification, statistics, but where comparable figures are available for the trades referred to by my hon. Friend there have been substantial declines in unemploy- ment since last year. As regards the cause of the increase in imports, I would refer to the reply given by my right hon. Friend to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Perkins) on 28th March.


As this Government were returned to correct an adverse balance of trade, and as the country appears to be heading for a situation exactly similar to that of 1931, ought not some more definite action to be promised by the hon. Gentleman?


I think we want to be very careful to see that goods imported for the purpose of being processed and converted into something else in British factories are not arbitrarily reduced in volume.


Can the hon. Gentleman say what process a typewriter undergoes after it has been imported?


Very often it is assembled.


asked the President of the Board of Trade the change in the volume of retained imports of maim-factures in the first half of this year as compared with the first half of last year, including non-ferrous metals and petroleum products and excluding non-ferrous metals and petroleum products, respectively?


Calculations of the volume of our overseas trade during the second quarter and the first six months of this year are now being made, and the usual quarterly article will be published in the Board of Trade Journal on Thursday next. The additional information required by my hon. Friend is being prepared, and I will send it to him as soon as possible.