HC Deb 18 March 1958 vol 584 cc1067-8
9. Mr. Jay

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent users of high-powered two-wheel tractors for opencast coal mining and road construction were consulted by the Government before the decision was taken recently to refuse import licences for this equipment.

Sir D. Eccles

In accordance with the normal procedure, full account was taken of the information supplied by users in support of these applications.

Mr. Jay

Although I am all in favour of cutting out unnecessary imports, does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that in a case where actual orders have to be cancelled there ought to be some consultation with the trade beforehand?

Sir D. Eccles

There was consultation. The right hon. Gentleman may care to consult his hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison), who pressed me to do exactly the opposite to what he is now asking.

Mr. Nabarro

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, recently, during the Second Reading debate on the Opencast Coal Bill, representations from both sides of the House were made to the Minister in charge, the Paymaster-General, on the ground that, as opencast coal mining is to be a permanent feature of our mining economy, steps should be taken to ensure that all equipment needed is produced by British engineering firms without resort to dollar imports?

Sir D. Eccles

We are trying to do that, and these tractors are now being produced at home.

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