HC Deb 18 May 1950 vol 475 cc1379-80
34. Mrs. Eirene White

asked the President of the Board of Trade on what basis dollar allocations are made to private traders to enable them to import cotton dresses, skirts or blouses from the United States.

Mr. H. Wilson

These imports are licensed under the token import scheme, whereby United States manufacturers are permitted to send to the United Kingdom 20 per cent. by value of their pre-war trade in certain specified goods, including women's dresses. An import licence and the appropriate foreign exchange will normally be granted to any importer whose American supplier is entitled to participate in the scheme.

Mrs. White

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his explanation, may I ask whether he is aware that when we are being asked to forego extra sugar, canned fruit and salmon, and other dollar goods which cannot be purchased in this country, it is rather tantalising to see advertised in the public Press very simple imported cotton skirts which can be produced equally well—and as cheaply, I hope—in Lancashire?

Mr. Wilson

The House has had many opportunities of debating the token import scheme. We would all feel that the total disruption of this import channel will be regrettable, and as the imports only came to £19,000 in 1949 they would not make much difference to the point which my hon. Friend has in mind.