HC Deb 15 June 1950 vol 476 cc523-4
9. Captain Duncan

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he takes to ensure that goods imported into this country and marked "Empire Made," are, in fact, made in the Empire.

Mr. H. Wilson

The sale in the United Kingdom of goods falsely marked as to origin is an offence under the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887. Any person may prosecute the offender, and the Board of Trade is empowered to prosecute where this appears to be in the public interest. If goods are improperly marked at importation, they can be confiscated by the Customs.

Captain Duncan

Will the right hon. Gentleman look at this boy's shirt, which is marked "Ever Lucky—Empire Made," which I bought the other day in a retail shop in Scotland, and for which I paid 3s. 6d.? To make such a shirt in this country would cost 3s. 6d. for the raw materials alone. Will he look into this sort of case, which, if it becomes general throughout the country, will ruin British industry?

Mr. Wilson

I will certainly look into it. At this distance, the shirt would appear to have come from Hong Kong, which is within the Empire and so that such a mark would be appropriate. There have been a number of suggestions that shirts marked "Made in Hong Kong" have come from Japan, and we have investigated these cases. If we find any cases of incorrect marking, we shall not hesitate to take action.

Mr. Turton

Has the Minister instituted any prosecutions in this matter in the last 12 months?

Mr. Wilson

I should want notice of that question.

Sir R. Ross

Has the right hon. Gentleman had any luck in catching Japanese sending shirts to Hong Kong?

Mr. Wilson

There has not been any evidence to prove that that is going on, but if any hon. Member could give me evidence I should be glad to see it.