HC Deb 21 November 1939 vol 353 c999
1 and 2. Sir Granville Gibson

asked the President of the Board of Trade (i) whether he is aware that the Import Licensing Department is refusing to grant permits to import raw materials required to complete contracts in the United Kingdom entered into before the war started; that these raw materials have been purchased in the British Dominions; that this refusal will throw men out of employment; and whether he will give instructions that all United Kingdom contractors and manufacturers who purchased materials and supplies before the war started from any part of the Empire shall be granted permits to import;

(2) whether he is aware that the Import Licensing Department is refusing to grant permits to import the raw materials required by manufacturers in the United Kingdom to manufacture goods for export to Empire and foreign countries, and that such raw materials cannot be obtained in this country; and will he give instructions that all raw materials required to carry on the export trade of the country shall be granted permits to enable them to be imported?

Mr. Stanley

The importation of most raw materials is free from restrictions. Certain Import Prohibition Orders, relating to raw materials, have been made at the request of the Ministry of Supply; but the object of these Orders is not to reduce the quantity of imports but rather to enable the competent controller to arrange purchases of these materials in the most advantageous manner and to put such materials as are available to the best use.

Sir G. Gibson

; Is it the policy of the Government to give every possible opportunity for the importation of raw materials when, they are necessary for completing contracts and, in many cases, carrying out export orders?

Mr. Stanley

Yes, Sir, I have been trying to impress upon all applicants for import licences that if they require the material for the purposes of export they should state so, and that I will then do all I can to help them.