HC Deb 29 July 1952 vol 504 cc1253-4
28. Mr. Shepherd

asked the President of the Board of Trade the yardage of cotton cloth imported from Germany in the first six months of 1951; and the yardage imported in the first six months of 1952, or the latest period for which figures are available.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Imports of cotton cloth from Germany in the first six months of 1951 were 9,174 thousand square yards and in the first six months of 1952 20,771 thousand square yards. The main reason for this increase is that between one third and one half of this year's imports have resulted from defence orders placed last year when comparable goods could not be obtained in Lancashire. And I would remind my hon. Friend that these figures do not reflect the severity of the cuts made in March this year on private imports of textiles, since goods in transit at the time of these restrictions were admitted and licences issued to enable existing contracts to be honoured.

Mr. Shepherd

Is the right hon. Gentleman able to say whether it is true that the new restrictions limit the imports to 40 per cent. of 1951, and can he say whether he expects these imports, now that there is not such a great need for a defence programme, to cease?

Mr. Thorneycroft

These restrictions have taken textiles off open general licence and put them on quota. If the hon. Gentleman wants a percentage estimate perhaps he will put a Question down.

Mr. Fort

Do I understand from my right hon. Friend that no more licences are being issued and imports will in future come in only against quota?

Mr. Thorneycroft

They are off open general licence and on quota.