§ 44. Major Anstruther-Gray
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can yet make a statement with regard to his investigations into the possibility of large importations of Coronation souvenirs from abroad depriving British producers of this market.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
As explained in the reply given to the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis), on 13th May, the question of further measures to restrict imports of Coronation souvenirs from foreign countries is under consideration, but my right hon. Friend is not yet in a position to make a statement.
§ Mr. Wills
When my hon. and learned Friend is considering this matter, will he bear in mind not only the need to help producers in this country and the Empire, but also the very special significance that this event holds in the minds and hearts of the people and the special significance that these souvenirs will have for many future years?
§ Mr. Lewis
Is the Minister aware that the answer to which he referred me did not deal with the point? Is he further aware that British manufacturers are being hampered because of the copyright which prevents them from getting out their samples, and because they are not to use non-ferrous metals; further that foreign competitors are circulating this country and the hard currency areas with their samples and obtaining an unfair advantage over British traders? Will he not do something quickly to give the British traders a chance to get into the market?
§ Mr. Strauss
I share the desire of the hon. Member that this market should be of benefit to the British traders and that they should be able to supply the demand. There are some difficulties, to which he referred, about certain metals, but the utmost help will be given to the manufacturers concerned, consistent with the 259 necessity of conserving supplies of certain scarce metals.
As regards further measures, I think the whole House will agree that it is important in this not very easy question to get a solution which is workable and practical.
§ Mr. Bottomley
In view of the speed with which cuts in imports were made in food and other essential supplies, why cannot such speed be exercised in the case of these goods which are not wanted?
§ Mr. Strauss
I think the right hon. Gentleman may be under the impression from some of these Questions that great quantities of these goods are coming in. I think there is no foundation for that assumption, and, so far as I know, no representations on that point have been made by any of the trades concerned.
§ Mr. Sutcliffe
In view of the present state of the textile industry, will my hon. and learned Friend and his right hon. Friend do all in their power to make sure that souvenirs such as decorations and flags made from textile materials shall be made in Lancashire mills?
§ Mr. Usborne
When the Minister is considering this subject, will he not forget the point of view of the ordinary customer who is anxious to buy the souvenirs as cheaply as possible?
§ Major Anstruther-Gray
Can my hon. and learned Friend say how many of these souvenirs have come into this country up to date?
§ Mr. Strauss
No, Sir. I will see if I can do so later. The trade quotas under which they come in cover many other goods. I am not aware of any large amount of goods already coming in such as has been mentioned.