HC Deb 01 December 1953 vol 521 cc938-9
23. Mr. Stevens

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he expects the report of the Wilson-Smith Committee on Duty-free Imports of Machinery; and if he is aware that an early report is necessary.

32. Mr. Robson Brown

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he expects that the committee, which is considering the duty-free entry of machinery, will be making their report, particularly having regard to the financial difficulties which many small manufacturers are experiencing in the matter of import of special types of machinery not manufactured in this country; and the effect that this is having, both upon productivity and our export trade.

Mr. Amory

I understand that the committee hope to complete their report early next year. The committee are, I know, aware that it is desirable that the report on this complex and difficult subject should be presented as soon as possible.

Mr. Stevens

Will my right hon. Friend once more stress that urgency, because much of this machinery is used for the production of articles for which there is a substantial export demand, and the sooner we have the report the sooner there will be hope of increased exports?

Mr. Amory

I agree entirely as to the importance of this question, and I know that the committee will not delay the matter one moment longer than it can help.

Mr. Robson Brown

Whilst thanking the Minister for his reply, may I ask him to bear in mind that there are a large number of small firms with limited capital in this country engaged on important export work who find this embargo extremely difficult and embarrassing to them, and any relief would be a great help to them?

Mr. Amory

That is the type of question which I am sure the committee is considering.