HC Deb 11 February 1954 vol 523 cc1342-3
16. Mr. Holt

asked the President of the Board of Trade, with regard to the 918 applications since 11th March, 1952, to import machinery duty-free, if he will now reconsider his policy, give rebates against those applications in cases where machinery has actually been imported, and grant all future applications until the Report of the Machinery Import Duties Committee is presented.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

No, Sir.

Mr. Holt

Is it not quite unreasonable, in view of the attitude of the President of the Board of Trade towards the cotton trade, under the Japanese Agreement, that he should give the industry no assistance in reducing its own costs with regard to machinery?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The question of the drawback of dues is very complicated and raises a number of issues. I have referred it to a committee which is looking into it and which hopes to report in a few weeks.

Mr. H. Wilson

Since Parliament, in 1932, laid quite clearly upon the Board of Trade the duty of pronouncing on individual applications, will the President not now agree that the Chancellor's announcement of 11th March, 1952, and his own refusal to grant rebates in all these cases since that date, is a direct and deliberate frustration of the intention of an Act of Parliament?

Mr. Thorneycroft

No, I would not agree. I think we had better await the report of the committee.