HC Deb 29 April 1965 vol 711 cc599-600
3. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the President of the Board of Trade what evidence he has of an accumulation of imports until after 27th April; and what changes in the level of imports he anticipates in the month of May.

Mr. Redhead

There is some evidence that shipments have been deferred until after 26th April, but it is too early to judge what these will amount to. It is not the practice to publish estimates of future imports.

Mr. Digby

Are there not reports of the widest hold-up of goods on this occasion, and will the Government take steps on the next occasion before they reduce the surcharge not to give advance notice so that this does not happen again?

Mr. Redhead

We are not apprehensive of very serious congestion in the docks. Indeed, we feel that some reports of an anticipatory kind may well be exaggerated.

Mr. Barber

Surely, the hon. Gentleman is not trying to minimise the consequences of the Government's action. Does he deny the reports which we have all seen in the newspapers that goods have been held back by the Scandinavian countries, Italy, France, Germany and Belgium, and also that vessels have had to be specially chartered in order to deliver the goods which have been delayed?

Mr. Speaker

That could perhaps be put as, "Does the Minister deny the fact?" because he is not responsible for reports in newspapers.