§ 26. Mr. HANNON
asked the Minister of Agriculture if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the index number of the retained imports of grain and flour on the basis that the quarterly average in 1930 was equal to 100 amounted during the first quarter of this year to 110.5, as compared with 105.7 in the same period of 1933; and, in view of this increase, what is the policy of the Government for dealing with this competition with home-produced grain and flour?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. In reply to the second part, it should be borne in mind that the grain and flour group referred to in the question contains a considerable number of items. While some of these show increases others, particularly wheat, show decreases. In particular the increase in the imports of maize (which is not produced in this country) accounts for considerably more than the net increase in the imports of the whole group. The question of wheat flour was recently considered by the Import Duties Advisory Committee, and the Committee decided not to make any recommendation for an increase in the existing duty.
§ Captain HEILGERS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the imports of flour from three European countries, France, Germany and Italy, have increased by over 1000 per cent. since 1928, and that, as this flour directly competes with flour manufactured by our own millers, it is spelling ruin to those engaged in the milling industry?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The hon. and gallant Member is aware that these matters are reviewed closely by the Import Duties Advisory Committee, and the fact that they have not chosen to make a recommendation has to be taken into account.