HC Deb 30 June 1960 vol 625 cc1528-30
5. Mr. Houghton

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what decision he has reached on the application of the Moquette Weavers Association for increased duty on Belgian moquettes;

(2) whether he is aware that imports of moquette now constitute 75 per cent. of the total trade in this material; and what reply he has given to the representations of the Moquette Weavers Association on the effect of imports from Belgium.

Mr. Maudling

I am aware of the high level of the imports of moquette. The Board of Trade announced on 16th June that it was considering an application for increased import duties on moquette furnishing fabrics and invited representations from interested parties. A decision will be taken as soon as possible after these representations have been received and considered.

Mr. Houghton

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, may ask him why these things take so long? My vision of the Board of Trade is of a Department of diversified activities choked with piles of paper. Why do not things come out quickly?

Mr. Maudling

Because we are determined to get a satisfactory answer, even, if necessary, at the cost of a certain amount of delay. An application was first put in to us in May 1959, but was revised and re-submitted in February of this year. The important thing is to give full opportunity to everyone concerned to put their views to us, because it is not only the home manufacturers who are concerned. It is the home consumer and also the importer. If people are to continue to have confidence in this machinery, it is most important that the Board of Trade should give everyone a full chance to state their case before it reaches its decision. I know that this sometimes causes disappointment, but I think that it is the right policy.