HC Deb 28 January 1954 vol 522 cc1951-2
36. Mr. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many applications for duty-free licences to import machinery not made in the United Kingdom, have been received since March, 1952; and how many have been granted

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

No duty-free licences for machinery have been granted under Section 10 of the Finance Act, 1932, against any of the 918 applications made since 11th March, 1952.

Mr. Jay

Does the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) now have to get a licence from the Conservative Central Office before he is allowed to speak?

Mr. Holt

When does the President of the Board of Trade intend to render these applications unnecessary by a clean sweep of the import duties on machinery?

Mr. Thorneycroft

An inquiry on this subject is now proceeding.

Mr. H. Wilson

Does not the President's answer mean that the law, as stated in Section 10 of the 1932 Act, is being utterly frustrated by the fact that the Government are refusing every single application for licences, and have done so since the Chancellor's Budget speech of 11th March, 1952?

Mr. Thorneycroft

No, I do not think that the law has been frustrated. A full inquiry into this matter is now proceeding.