HC Deb 21 June 1934 vol 291 cc536-7
46. Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that in 1933, after taking all factors into account, there was an estimated adverse balance of payment of £4,000,000 and that during the first five months of 1934 the adverse balance of visible trade has increased by £18,689,000 due to large increases in the imports of manufactured articles as well as of raw materials, which the increased export of manufactures have been insufficient to counterbalance; and, as the crisis of August, 1931, was largely due to an adverse balance of payments, whether he can arrange for the problem to be considered by the Economic Advisory Council with a view to early measures to avert the risk of a further crisis?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)

The excess of imports over exports of merchandise during the first five months of this year was £18,700,000 greater than in the corresponding period of 1933, due mainly to increased imports of materials for industry frequently at enhanced prices. These movements in trade are being closely studied. I have noted the suggestion in the last part of my hon. and gallant Friend's question.


In view of the fact that if this rate of progress continues the adverse balance may be something like £50,000,000 before the end of the year, will my right hon. Friend take early steps to watch the situation in view of the specific mandate from the country at the last election?


I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that I am watching all the facts all the time.


Has not the remedy of tariffs already been tried?