HC Deb 29 April 1965 vol 711 c609
18. Mr. Alison

asked the President of the Board of Trade what evidence he now has as to the extent to which the 15 per cent. surcharge has reduced imports in the categories affected.

Mr. Redhead

The import figures for the first quarter of 1965 provide evidence that the temporary import charge has had sortie effect in reducing imports.

Mr. Alison

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the import figures of manufactured goods for the first quarter of 1965 show a 16 per cent. increase over the corresponding period of 1964?

Mr. Redhead

The hon. Gentleman's conclusions and deductions from printed statistics do not concur with mine.

Mr. Barber

The hon. Gentleman will, I am sure, agree that the reduction of imports in March was greater in goods which were not subject to the surcharge?

Mr. Redhead

That is true, but nevertheless manufactured goods have shown a reduction in the import figures.

Mr. Kelley

Will my hon. Friend take into consideration when any future announcement of a reduction of surcharge is likely to be made that advanced warnings will have a tendency to suppress the enthusiasm of importers to go into business?

Mr. Redhead

I can only say that all relevant considerations will be taken into consideration.

Mr. William Clark

In view of the fact that when this import surcharge was introduced it was thought that there would be a saving of £200 million in imports in one year, will the hon. Gentleman say whether the record to date gives any indication that that will be achieved?

Mr. Redhead

The hon. Member will appreciate that the effects of the charge cannot be separated from other influences affecting imports.

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