HC Deb 02 November 1937 vol 328 cc702-3
54. Sir J. Mellor

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the recent publication by the Treasury of a statement, to the effect that the Import Duties Advisory Committee did not consider that the position of the poultry industry would be improved by an increase in the present duties on eggs in shell and table poultry, was in accordance with the usual practice in cases where the Committee declined to make a recommendation under the Import Duties Act, 1932; whether the full substance of the communication received by the Treasury from the Committee was published; and whether he will invite the Committee to issue an explanatory statement of their reasons for declaring that an increase in the said duties would not assist the poultry industry?

Sir J. Simon

The procedure in this case follows that adopted in connection with the application for increased duties on butter and cheese where an announcement of the Committee's decision was made by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Financial Secretary in reply to a question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Petherick) on 28th July last. The Treasury in this instance received for confidential information a memorandum by the Committee, but I am not prepared to invite the Committee to issue an explanatory statement of the kind my hon. Friend suggests.

Sir J. Mellor

Does the right hon. Gentleman think it desirable that the Treasury should publish a bold and sweeping assertion upon a matter of deep concern to the country and industry without giving the grounds upon which they relied?

Sir J. Simon

I think that the publication followed the regular form. The actual machinery under which publication takes place varies. As the hon. Gentleman knows, it is usually done by question and answer, but on this occasion the House was not sitting, so to save time, it was done by the method of which he is aware.