HC Deb 05 July 1956 vol 555 cc1524-5
29. Dr. Stross

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many reductions in the quota for tiles exported to Australia from Britain have been made during the past 12 months; what is the permitted value for the next annual period as compared with 1950–51; and whether he will make representations to the Australian Government on behalf of the British tile industry for an increased quota.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

There have been four reductions in the quotas for floor and wall tiles and two reductions for other kinds of tiles. Quotas are licensed to importers individually, and comparison with 1950–51 is therefore impracticable; but the quotas have in both cases been reduced by some 60 per cent. over the past 12 months. These cuts, which apply to imports from all sources, have been made necessary by Australia's balance of payments difficulties and, much as we regret it, we cannot reasonably question the Australian Government's decision to take such action.

Dr. Stross

Does not the President agree that even the 1950–51 period was a poor year for exports of tiles? Is it not possible to make representations to our friends in Australia, who, after all, provide our best market?

Mr. Thorneycroft

As the hon. Member knows, I am at present in conversation with the Australian Minister of Commerce on the whole question of our trade relations.

Mr. Stokes

Is not the real fact that the Treasury, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the rest of the Government have a completely "phoney" idea of the use of credit?