HC Deb 27 May 1946 vol 423 cc810-1
26. Lady Noel-Buxton

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that supplies of carnauba, can-dililla and ouri curi are confined to a few manufacturers only and that other manufacturers are unable to fulfil export orders based on the controlled figures, owing to a great rise in future prices following decontrol; and what steps he proposes to take.

Mr. Belcher

I am not aware that any manufacturer is unable to obtain supplies of these commodities at current world prices. The limitation on prices which importers could pay in the countries of origin was removed in October last as a consequence of the withdrawal of import control by the United States of America. If the subsequent price increases have created difficulties for manufacturers who entered into commitments on the basis of prices ruling at the time of contract, the matter would seem to be one for negotiation between those manufacturers and their customers.

Mr. Wilson Harris

Does the Minister realise that this serious matter cannot be left where it is? The House has a right to be informed about the nature of these singular commodities.

Mr. Belcher

I am sure the House will agree that it is not my duty to inform the House of the nature of these commodities.

Mr. W. Shepherd

Will the Minister say what he is doing to restore the balance of these prices? The price of carnauba a few months ago was £300 a ton and it is now £1,000 a ton. It is impossible to buy these materials on the market; I have been trying to buy them for some time without success. What is the Minister going to do about it?

Mr. Belcher

The control was removed at the end of last year, and I would have thought that that would have satisfied hon. Members opposite. Because of the removal of the control and probably because of the tremendous demand for these commodities, the price has risen. This control was removed very largely as a result of the withdrawal of import control by the United States, and, in the absence of a renewal of import control by the United States, there is very little we can do about it.