HC Deb 21 July 1955 vol 544 cc559-61
45. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Prime Minister if he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate and report on what action should be taken to assist manufacturing industry, to promote the development of trade, increase our contribution in world trade, consider the report on monopolies, and investigate all forms of restraint, to investigate the pre-production costs imposed on manufacturing industry, the prices charged for raw materials before and after trade associations were formed,

carried out his duties to the full satisfaction of the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a member, as well as of the present Government. His latter suggestion is entirely uncalled for. Members of our diplomatic and civil services are often called on to live in other countries where opinions differing in some respects from their own are expressed around them, and they have no difficulty in maintaining their own identity,

Mr. Dugdale

I agree. That is naturally so, but they do not at the same time have to administer racial policy in territory for which Her Majesty's Government are responsible.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

That has nothing to do with my answer, which is quite clear.

The following are the details:

and the 1955 internal charge in relation to world prices and on other costs which affect the competitive position of productive industry.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I have been asked to reply.

For a variety of reasons the answer to this comprehensive Question must be "No, Sir."

Mr. Smith

Does the Chancellor remember the very fine effect of the Macmillan Report on trade and finance, which was published round about 1931? Does he not agree that, judging by the way things are going, the future will prove the need for something to be done on the lines suggested in my Question?

Mr. Butler

I am aware of the Report and of its value. The difficulty of the Question is that, although undoubtedly it touches some of the most important issues in our public and economic life today, it is rather difficult to appoint a Royal Commission that would cover the whole of this batch of eggs. Therefore, in the circumstances, I do not think that the appointment of a Royal Commission is the best way out of the problem.

Mr. Smith

I thank the right hon. Gentleman. He is constantly making appeals to industry, but does he not think that the time has arrived for some concrete action, if not on the lines that I have suggested then on some other lines?

Mr. Butler

Fortunately, action has been taken on one line at least—the Monopolies Commission—which is included in the hon. Member's comprehensive Question. On the other matters, the President and I and other Ministers are engaged in prosecuting policy with vigour and effect.