HC Deb 03 May 1934 vol 289 cc476-8
50. Mr. GUY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied that uncertainty in regard to the future price of rubber will not act detrimentally against the development of new uses for rubber on which the prosperity of the industry must ultimately depend; and what steps His Majesty's Government proposes to take to ensure that under the restriction scheme regular supplies will be maintained at fair and stable prices?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)

One of the main objects of the scheme for the regulation of the supply of rubber is to maintain a fair and equitable price level, and I think it will be generally agreed that stability of price is most likely to be secured by a regulation scheme which is flexible enough to adjust supply and demand. My hon. Friend will also recollect that the scheme contains an express provision for associating representatives of consumers with the International Committee which will administer the scheme.


While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply, does he realise that manufacturers, as consumers, may be seriously prejudiced if, owing to any scarcity in the commodity, the price of rubber goes to an artificial level?


In the first place, there is no intention of putting the price of rubber to what my hon. Friend calls an artificial level. It is just as much in the mind of the framers of this scheme as it is in anybody else's that it is desirable to have the maximum amount of rubber consumed. In the second place, it is an essential part of the scheme that all consumers shall be treated alike.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the proposed rubber restriction scheme will contain any provisions to compel the International Rubber Regulation Committee to accept the advice of the advisory panel of manufacturing interests in the event of the committee proposing or taking any action which appears to be detrimental to their industry?


Clearly the responsibility for decisions must rest with the committee which will be appointed by the respective Governments.


Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind how some foreign countries are exploiting the distressed industries of this country which require special consideration?


I am not sure that I see the connection. What is important here is that the distressed industry of rubber should be enabled to recover its position and be a purchaser from the distressed industries of this country.

53. Mr. LEVY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the price of rubber under the Stevenson restriction scheme rose as high as 4s. 8d. per lb.; whether he will see that the rubber regulation scheme now proposed will contain provisions to safeguard consumers of rubber against excessive increases in the price of the commodity; and whether, in the interests of consumers of rubber, he will arrange that the International Rubber Regulation Committee shall include members representative of rubber manufacturers?


Yes, Sir. I am aware of the wide fluctuations in price which took place during the currency of the Stevenson Scheme. The present agreement is expressly designed to avoid such fluctuations. I have already drawn attention to the provision in the present scheme for associating representatives of consumers with the International Committee.