HC Deb 20 May 1952 vol 501 cc259-60
36. Lady Tweedsmuir

asked the President of the Board of Trade on what scale he intends to continue the issue of import licences for Portuguese slates.

Mr. H. Strauss

An import quota for slate and roofing slates will be announced soon. Licences issued under the quota will be valid for the import of these goods from any of the countries, including Portugal, in respect of which the open general licence for their importation was withdrawn on the 12th March.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that a large quantity of British slate is available? As the Minister of Works and the Secretary of State for Scotland are trying to revive the slate quarrying industry in Scotland, and in view of the balance of payments difficulties, would it not be wise to cut down some of these imports of Portuguese slate?

Mr. Vane

Will my hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that the best slate in the world comes not from Scotland, Wales or Portugal, but from Cumberland, Westmorland and North Lancashire, and that there is plenty there to meet the needs of this country? Will he ensure that these quotas are not so large as to damage our home industry in any part of these islands?