HC Deb 17 April 1956 vol 551 cc832-3
21. Mrs. Castle

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the high price of lettuce, he will suspend the import duty of 20s. per cwt.

Mr. Low

No, Sir. It would not be appropriate to vary the tariff on short-term changes in the level of supplies or prices.

Mrs. Castle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in London lettuces are fetching 1s. 6d. each and have been doing so for some time? Is it not absurd to call this a protective duty if it cannot be varied according to whether or not protection is necessary? Does it not merely become a tax on food?

Mr. Low

As my right hon. Friend has frequently said, it is important to have tariff stability. It would be a great mistake to vary tariffs from time to time according to the conditions of supplies and prices.