HC Deb 29 November 1956 vol 561 cc555-6
14. Mr. G. Darling

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of his earlier appeals to industry and in order to maintain price stability, he will appeal to the shipping conference lines to exercise restraint in the matter of increasing shipping freight rates.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I feel sure that British members of the shipping conferences—which are, of course, international—are giving full weight to the considerations which the hon. Member has in mind. I am informed that the only significant increases recently made in the case of the conference lines serving the United Kingdom have been necessitated by the longer voyages arising from the Suez Canal developments.

Mr. Darling

Is this situation likely to continue? Can the hon. and learned Gentleman say that the attitude of the Government will be that they will bring pressure to bear on any market of this kind where it looks as if unrestrained bargaining is in this case sending the shipping freight rates up beyond a reasonable figure?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I think that in view of the Answer which I gave to the hon. Gentleman's original Question, that supplementary question is based upon an hypothesis to which I should not address myself.