HC Deb 21 June 1937 vol 325 cc839-40
48. Mr. Smedley Crooke

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the grave position in certain manufacturing industries owing to the shortage of steel sheets, sections, and strip, both for home and export trade, resulting in stoppage of production and consequent loss of employment; whether he is aware that supplies of steel are obtainable from the United States of America in adequate quantities and prompt deliveries, but, owing to the high tariff of roughly 25 per cent., the cost of such imported steel, which is the raw material in these industries, is prohibitively expensive; and whether he will take immediate steps to have the duty reduced to such a degree that will meet the difficulty without adversely affecting the agreements with the Continental Steel Cartel?

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

Any question of a reduction of duty is a matter in the first place for the Import Duties Advisory Committee, who, I understand, are at present considering what steps can be taken to facilitate increased imports without adversely affecting the flow of imports under the agreement with the Continental Steel Cartel.

Mr. Smedley Crooke

Will the right hon. Gentleman give me an early opportunity of putting before him the full facts upon this matter, which is of vital importance both to the manufacturers and the workers?

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman also take note of the fact that hon. Members opposite are now asking for a reduction of tariffs?