HC Deb 03 March 1953 vol 512 cc187-8
36. Mr. Holt

asked the President of the Board of Trade the value of dutiable imports for the 12 months ended December, 1952, shown separately under the headings of the relevant Import Duties Acts; what were the amounts of duty paid; and if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on import duties.

Mr. Mackeson

I assume that the hon. Member has in mind the several Acts under which protective duties are imposed. With his permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the figures for which he asks.

In reply to the third part of the Question, Her Majesty's Government consider that the tariff provides the appropriate method of protection for domestic industry and agriculture when the need for such protection has been proved. The hon. Member will be aware, however, that the United Kingdom is a contracting party to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and has, therefore, agreed to contribute to the objectives of that Agreement by entering into reciprocal and mutually advantageous arrangements directed to the reduction of tariffs.

Mr. Holt

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the same kind of enmity arises in other countries which have to cope with our import restrictions of one type or another as has been indicated in this House by several hon. Members who are annoyed by the import restrictions of other countries, and will he do something to impress upon the Government the urgent necessity of an early lowering of these import duties and the removing of restrictions?

Mr. Mackeson

The hon. Gentleman has asked me a pretty wide question on Government policy. If he wants me to go any further into it, I should be grateful if he would put his question on the Order Paper.

Following are the figures:

I am advised that net receipts of duty under each of these Acts in the 12 months ended December, 1952, were approximately as follows:

£ million
Import Duties Act, 1932 73.14
Ottawa Agreements Act, 1932 5.64
Safeguarding of Industries Act,1921 1.81
Beef and Veal Customs Duties Act, 1937 1.16
Finance Act, 1925 (imposing the silk duties) 1.94

As many of the duties charged under these Acts are on a specific basis, complete information as to the value of dutiable imports is not available.