HC Deb 10 July 1952 vol 503 cc1514-5
58. Mr. Jay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the 10 per cent. cut in the value of United Kingdom imports in 1952, compared with 1951, to become effective.

Sir A. Salter

The right hon. Member will have observed from the published Trade Returns that, in the first four months of this year, the cost of our imports was higher than in the corresponding period of 1951, but that the difference declined substantially each month. In May imports were about £18 million below those of May of last year. This trend is expected to continue.

Mr. Jay

As it was an essential part of the Chancellor's policy that there should be a 10 per cent. cut in imports this year, is it not a serious matter that in the first five months imports have been running at the same level as the average for last year? Can the Minister assure us that we are really going to see some effects from this policy?

Sir A. Salter

The figures I have quoted show that some effect is being seen, that there is a rapid improvement, and that the trend is expected to continue. I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend, in using the figure of 10 per cent., was, of course, comparing 1951 as a whole with 1952 as a whole.