HC Deb 27 November 1956 vol 561 cc213-5
23. Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the need to conserve our dollar resources for essential requirements, he will suspend further licences for dollar expenditure on items such as fruit and canned fruit which can be replaced from Commonwealth sterling sources.

Mr. Erroll

No, Sir. Imports of fruit from the dollar area are severely restricted already. In any event, most of the licences already issued and to be issued cover fruit from the United States under Aid Programmes, and these imports do not cost us dollars.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

Is my hon. Friend aware that, quite apart from the Mutual Security Aid allocations to which he has referred, and since my Question referred to those items needing dollar expenditure, in the current season alone we are spending 1£¼ million on soft fruit which could easily be replaced from Commonwealth sources?

Hon. Members


Mr. F. Harris

Is the Minister aware that there is very strong feeling indeed on this matter, particularly as we in the sterling area get no corresponding trade for canned goods going back into the dollar countries?

An Hon. Member

Or anything else.

Mr. Erroll

In answer to both my hon. Friends, it is important to remember that we do not wish to pursue a policy of further discrimination in the realm of trade.

24. Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to promote the substitution of Commonwealth-grown tobacco for tobacco of dollar origin in view of the need to conserve dollar resources for essential purposes.

Mr. Erroll

United Kingdom tobacco manufacturers are restricted as to the proportion of dollar tobacco which they may include in cigarettes made for the home market. This proportion is at present 61 per cent., part of which is supplied by Canada.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

Is my hon. Friend aware that there will be a surplus of Rhodesian tobacco, or there could be a surplus, available next year if Her Majesty's Government would limit the percentage of dollar-grown tobacco by a very slightly increased amount?

Mr. Erroll

Our information is that United Kingdom cigarette manufacturers are taking up all the Rhodesian leaf that they conveniently can.

Mr. Jay

But will not the Parliamentary Secretary take more seriously the excellent advice that comes from behind him? As the Labour Government successfully raised the proportion of Rhodesian tobacco by a large margin and saved a lot of dollars, why cannot the present Government do the same?

Mr. Erroll

Because the present very high proportion of Commonwealth leaf is about as much as United Kingdom manufacturers can usefully take.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

On a point of order. In view of the very unsatisfactory replies to both those Questions, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment.

Mr. Snow

Further to that point of order. Is the Minister aware that we shall be very pleased to help his hon. Friend in this matter?