HC Deb 02 March 1954 vol 524 c992
20. Mr. Holt

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much rayon staple fibre was imported into the United Kingdom in 1953; and from which foreign country most of this came.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Figures of imports of rayon staple fibre are not available. Imports of artificial silk cut staple fibre including rayon staple fibre in 1953 amounted to nearly 2 3/4 million pounds weight. About one-third of the total was supplied by Norway and most of the remainder by Western Germany and Switzerland.

Mr. Holt

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these imports represent a very small proportion of the production of this country, and that the duty on them is 37½ percent.? Is he also aware that the Minister of State, Board of Trade, in an answer on 23rd February, seemed to suggest that, because the imports were a very small fraction of the total production of the country, the height of duty was in no way a handicap? Does he not think it is time he looked into the matter himself and used some initiative?

Mr. Thorneycroft

That seems to raise a rather wider issue. The Question asked only for figures.