HC Deb 26 November 1968 vol 774 cc281-3
13. Mr. Wall

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the seizure by customs officers of Rhodesian stamps.

Mr. Harold Lever

Goods imported from Southern Rhodesia in contravention of the prohibition on their importation are liable to seizure under Section 44 of the Customs and Excise Act, 1952, and Rhodesian stamps have been seized under that provision.

Mr. Wall

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that the seizure of a single Rhodesian stamp from an amateur collector makes not only his Department but the whole country look ridiculous? What will he do to restore the property of those who have exchanged or bought stamps through a third country?

Mr. Lever

It is never ridiculous to enforce the declared and explicit intention of Parliament, and that is all that is being dole in this case.

Mr. John Fraser

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that hon. Members on this by which we are committed to pay certain of these debts?

Mr. Jenkins

Yes, Sir. I can confirm that.

Following is the information.

side of the House are much more interested in the detention of coloured Africans than the detention of the Penny Black? In so far as the seizures are necessary to bring about majority rule, the Treasury has the full support of hon. Members on this side of the House.

14. Mr. Wall

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the present estimated cost to Great Britain of maintaining sanctions against Rhodesia.

Mr. Harold Lever

The cost to the Exchequer, including contingency support for Zambia, was£34.8 million between i.d.i. and 30th September, 1968.

Mr. Wall

Could the hon. Gentleman give the House a more genuine figure, including the loss of trade and invisibles, such as banking and insurance, the purchase of dollar tobacco and so on?

Mr. Lever

I was asked a specific and factual Question, to which I have given the most accurate answer available. I am not in a position to rove into a more speculative field.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

Is my hon. Friend aware that many of us on this side of the House regard the price as cheap? Will he and the Government do all they can to see that sanctions are stepped up to the highest degree possible for which they can get international agreement?

Mr. Lever

We enforce the sanctions which Parliament thinks fit to enforce. and do so in accordance with Parliament's intention.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

In the absence of an agreement, which we on this side of the House at least devoutly hope the Government will reach, for how many years are the Government prepared to go on with sanctions, which have signally failed in their object?

Mr. Lever

That is far wide of the original Question.

Mr. Rose

Will my hon. Friend give an estimate of the damage to the British economy which would follow if those countries supporting the United Nations Resolution on sanctions were to break off trading relations with this country?

Mr. Lever

My hon. Friend imposes on me at short notice a difficult task which I cannot undertake.