HC Deb 20 March 1952 vol 497 cc2521-2
1. Mr. William Shepherd

asked the President of the Board of Trade the total value of imports entering the United Kingdom under the Token Import Scheme in 1951; and what revision of the scheme is contemplated.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)

The value of actual imports under the Token Import Scheme in 1951 is not available, but import licences were issued in 1951 to a value of nearly £4.4 million. Some of these licences were not, or were not fully, used. As has already been announced. the Scheme is to continue in 1952 at a reduced level, and only for imports from the United States and Canada. Manufacturers in these countries will be allowed to send to the United Kingdom 30 per cent. by value of their pre-war exports of the commodities concerned, as compared with 40 per cent. in 1951. The Scheme will cover the same commodities as in 1951.

Mr. Shepherd

Will my right hon. Friend consider looking at the categories, since many people complain that they are able to buy luxury American goods and are not able to buy food? As there will be a restriction on certain categories of American luxury goods for many years ahead, is it wise to continue token imports?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I think that there is value from the goodwill point of view in trying to maintain some small trade in traditional trades of this character, but I am prepared to look at the list to see whether, under the existing ceiling of expenditure, it should be amended.