That the Additional Import Duties (No. 29) Order, 1936, dated the twelfth day
of October, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which was presented to this House on the twenty-ninth day of October, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, be approved."—[Dr. Burgin.]
§ 11.50 p.m.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I beg to move,That the Additional Import Duties (No. 30) Order, 1936, dated the sixteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which was presented to this House on the said sixteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, be approved.385 This Order and the accompanying Silk Duties (No. 2) Order are the ones which deal with Coronation souvenirs, on which they impose a duty of 100 per cent. Imports of these articles are not required here at all. Notice was given on 23rd July that the matter was under discussion. That acted as a general deterrent. Many of these goods come from France and Germany. Both Governments have agreed to these Orders.
§ 11.51 p.m.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I am not going to divide the House on this Order, although it is significant that one of the first results of the move at Geneva for a general lowering of duties all round is that for the first time we have introduced a prohibitive duty of 100 per cent. There is a certain amount of sentimental feeling that for the Coronation we should show our sentiment and patriotism by producing the stuffs required in Great Britain. That is right, but the hon. Gentleman should make it clear that advantage should not be taken of this so that producers of patriotic emblems can profiteer. I represent the poorest borough in London. In the Silver Jubilee celebrations there was no more patriotic area than Bethnal Green, and no area that showed more enthusiasm and loyalty in celebrating his late Majesty's Silver Jubilee. Several streets were barricaded in order that the people could unite to show their patriotism by entertaining the children in the district. Yet on that occasion it was impossible to buy the necessary flags and decorations at prices they could pay. There was one poor street which had across its entrance the true statement—because nearly all the people were unemployed—"We are poor but patriotic." They could not get flags, and so to show their patriotism they hung out their lace curtains. The producers of emblems and flags are to be given a monopoly. I hope the hon. Gentleman will use his influence to see that this monopoly shall not be used to exploit the poor people in connection with the celebration of His Majesty's Coronation. There is already a shortage of these things, and the people who will lose by this monopoly are not the well-to-do and the prosperous classes, but the poorer section of the community.
§ 11.51 p.m.
Mr. DAVID ADAMS
The Minister in charge of these Orders should advise the House what the estimated value of these 386 imports is likely to be, and inform us of the probable effect on our exports to the countries concerned.
§ 11.55 p.m.
§ Mr. REMER
I should not have risen had it not been for the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris). As representing a constituency which makes most of these flags and banners, I would inform him that one of the reasons why at the time of the Jubilee some of his poor friends were not able to get these articles at reasonable prices was that up to the last moment they did not know whether they would be able to obtain them from foreign countries at very cheap rates or whether they would get them from English manufacturers, and at the last moment there was such a demand that the Macclesfield manufacturers were working night and day, paying those on night shift double pay. The effect of this Order will be that manufacturers will know beforehand that they are to have a fair deal, and I think I can assure the hon. Baronet that they will not charge undue prices. There is one word that I would say to the Parliamentary Secretary. Although a great many of these flags may be finished in Great Britain, much of the silk will be woven in Japan. There is an application before the Import Duties Advisory Committee and I would make an appeal to him. If something could be done to speed up that application in order to see that the silk is British and not Japanese, it would be greatly to the benefit of British industry.
That the Additional Import Duties (No. 30) Order, 1936, dated the sixteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which was presented to this House on the said sixteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, be approved."—[Dr. Burgin.]