§ Order of the Day read for receiving the Report of Amendments.
§ Moved, That the Report be now received.—(Lord Bledisloe.)
§ LORD CAWLEY
My Lords, I want to say a few words upon this Motion be fore it is adopted. I am sorry I had not an opportunity of speaking on the second Reading because this is a Bill about which I feel very strongly. I think it will do more harm than almost any Bill that has been before this House for a good number of years. I feel that I should make some excuse for intervening at this stage and it is that I have had very considerable experience of business. I have been in the textile trade for something like fifty years. I have been intimately connected with more than one branch of it and I am still more or less connected with it to-day. I can assure your Lordships that from my experience, and from the experience of most people that I know, this Bill will really do a very great deal of harm. It will act as an advertisement for Germany, France, Italy, and Japan and other countries, who are now the younger firms, if I may say so, who are trying to take our business away. We are going to give them a most excellent advertisement.
We are the old people in business. We have the good will and our goods are looked well upon all over the world. Italy and Japan, and to some extent 1564 Germany, are the new and young firms trying to get into the business to take it away from us. By this Bill if they produce a good article we are going to advertise it for them by saying it is made in Germany, or Italy, or wherever it may be made. It is a delusion to suppose that the public will pay more for English goods than they do for foreign goods. There may be a very few people who are very well off who can afford to be patriotic and say they will not buy German goods, but the vast bulk of the people who buy textiles and other things—I think more of textiles because I know more of that business—are the working classes and the lower middle classes, who simply buy in the shops things they can afford, and they will not give one penny more for anything because it is English.
When a working-class woman goes into a shop she does not buy all she would like. She has her husband's wages and she tots up this, that and the other, and if she can buy a German-made thing a little bit cheaper than an English-made thing she buys it and has a certain surplus to invest it may be in a few things for the children or it may be in anything else. The working woman has only so much to spend and she has to spend it to the best advantage. She cannot and does not consider whether a thing is English or German. She buys the cheapest and best thing that is produced. You are not going to induce people to buy a thing simply because it happens to be English. What you are going to ensure is that people shall in future know, when a certain article is better or cheaper, whether it is made in Germany or in some other country. You are going to ensure that those countries shall have a very good advertisement for their articles because you are going to say that those articles made in Germany, or in some other country, shall be so marked.
I particularly rise to speak about something of which I really have technical knowledge, and that is the subject of the bleaching, dyeing and finishing industry. The rule now is for merchants in Manchester or Bradford to send their goods to the dyer or bleacher or calico-printer, as the case may be, and have the process of bleaching and dyeing or finishing put on the goods. The dyers do not manufacture goods themselves, but simply dye 1565 them at so much apiece. The Germans, in particular, have great technical knowledge and great chemical knowledge, and in certain processes of dyeing they are very good. It is becoming a habit to some extent for the Manchester merchants, since they get goods dyed for less in Germany, to send them there and bring them back again. We have not all the brains in the world. The Germans, French and others are often bringing out new processes making the goods more saleable. If this Bill passes, whenever goods go to Germany to be dyed—and they put on very good dyes and very good finish—they will have to be marked to the effect that this was done in Germany, or France or wherever it is, anybody who sees those articles will say: "We also will have our goods dyed in Germany," or wherever it may be, and this will be an immense disadvantage to the great dyeing and finishing industries in this country.
The noble Viscount will remember very well that some of us objected very strongly to the Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Act, 1920, which was introduced at the very last minute in this House and passed by your Lordships. The result was that the British Government subscribed £101,700,000 to British Dyes, Limited. Some of us said that this money would be lost. It, has been lost, every penny of it, and the Government, in taking part in the dyestuffs business, induced thousands of comparatively poor people to invest their money in it and these people have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds as one of the results of Government interference with business. The Government put certain safeguards in that Bill, but they have all gone by the board and the company has now been sold to the huge combine of Brunner, Mond & Co. All those safeguards in the Bill were done away with, and what is left of the company has been joined to this huge combine, which can combine with the German people, and the British people will have to pay. That is one of the results of Government interference with business.
The result of this Bill will be more or less the same. It will advertise foreign goods, interfere with trade and do a great deal of harm to the country. It will be an enormous disadvantage in every way. I do not think that the great textile industries of Lancashire and 1566 Yorkshire have ever been consulted in the matter. The Chambers of Commerce of Liverpool, Manchester and London are all against the Bill. Indeed, everyone with practical experience is against it. It is going to cost the country millions of money, and I feel that we ought to do something to lessen the evil that is sure to result from it. Its effect on the great entrepot trade is only one of the disadvantages that this Bill will create, but it is a very great disadvantage. These goods come into the country and are sold over the counter in London and Manchester warehouses.
To explain the point more thoroughly I should like to give what might be called a concrete case, though I do not say that this has ever happened. Let us say that Messrs. Cook, of St. Paul's Churchyard, have obtained some good articles from Germany and have them in their warehouses. Supposing a representative of Messrs. Barker comes into the warehouse, sees the article, realises that it is a very saleable article and notices that it is made in Germany. What does he do? Very likely he wishes to have a great deal of it, and might be expected to buy every bale, but instead he buys one piece and takes good care to find out where it comes from in Germany. You cannot get buyers from people like John Barker, Whiteleys, and others to pay more for an article than they are obliged to pay and, as soon as they see that the article that they are buying has been made in Germany, they immediately take steps to find out who made it and to buy in Germany instead of here. The consequence is that we lose trade, transport charges and all the profit that should have been made.
I do not think that one single advantage will result from this Bill. It may be that some manufacturers think that they are injured by foreign competition. Perhaps they are under the impression that they make a very superior article and they would like to see marked any article that competes with it. I think that in most cases they make a mistake because, if the article is better and cheaper than theirs, the customer will buy it. In the case of dyestuffs we have given Germany, Italy and Japan cheaper colour and we have to compete with countries that have been given enormous advantages through the horrible Bill that we passed here four or five years ago. We have actually given them a chance of buying their dyestuffs 1567 from 10 per cent. to 30 per cent. cheaper than we can get them ourselves. I am told—I will not say that I have absolute information—that Japan is now putting up the biggest dye and print works in the world, and the advantage that Japan will gain has been largely the result of Government interference in our trade.
Then again, we have to compete with Italy, which is doing a very large business in dyed calico. Why are they doing this business? Largely because of the advantage that has been given them by us. We are now to give them a greater advantage by advertising everything that they make and sell. This is a suicidal Bill, and I cannot imagine how any Government could allow themselves to push it forward. They have certainly done so without consulting the public, and I would almost implore your Lordships to use the privilege that you have of delaying and revising any measures that you do not think will be to the good of the country. The House of Lords used to have a great many enemies, but I think it is far more popular now than ever it was, and I think it would be still more popular if it would delay and revise measures like this a little more often. The Bill of which I speak was brought in, like this measure, at the fag end of the Session, and it was passed without the public knowing anything about it. If this Bill goes through it will do an infinite amount of damage, without the people most interested having had any opportunity of really protesting against it. If you throw out a Bill like this I believe you will destroy one of the greet arguments used against the House of Lords. The great argument against this House has always been that when a Liberal or a Labour Government was in office the House of Lords would throw out or revise anything, but when a Tory Government was in office it always did what the Tory Government wanted. I should really like to see the position of the House of Lords strengthened very much by Bills of this sort, which are really not Party measures, being amended or thrown out.
So far as the agricultural part of the question is concerned. I do not think that the fraud which it is said you want to see prevented is anything like so great as we are led to suppose. I think the genesis of this Bill is to be found in speeches which Conservative Members 1568 of Parliament make at agricultural shows, when they are animated by a desire to please their friends, by telling them how good are the things which they produce, and how the wicked foreigner is sending in his produce and pretending that it is British. Whatever small good may be effected by this Bill in the prevention of fraud, I believe that it will weigh very little against the enormous losses which will be brought about by this measure, if it is carried through. A good deal has been said about retaliation. I do not think much of the argument of retaliation generally, but if foreign countries would only retaliate by saying that everything that comes from England must be stamped "Made in England," I think it would be of immense value to us. You will not, however, see them doing anything so foolish. We are the only people who are going to stamp goods with their country of origin. If you ask foreigners to do the same with goods made in England, they will reply: "We are not going to give England a good advertisement." With regard to the thing that I do know most about—namely, the process of dyeing and finishing, I hope that I have said something to your Lordships which was worth while being said.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, it had not been my intention to take part in this debate, but I hope you will pardon me if I intervene on a personal matter. The tragic and sudden death of a member of your Lordships' House, who took part in the proceedings on this Bill when the measure was last before us, must be my excuse. The sudden death of Lord Emmott has been, I am sure, a shock to all those who listened when he spoke, apparently in his usual health, on Thursday last. The respect in which he was held was not confined to one political Party. He was distinguished by sound common sense, and an independent and wise judgment. I know how much he appreciated the attention with which his speeches were listened to in this House. More than once he referred, in speaking to me, to the courtesy with which he was always listened to in this House, due, I am sure, not only to the general respect in which he was held but to the fact that he never spoke unless he had something useful to say, and furthermore to the fact that he prepared the speeches which he made in this House with very great care.
1569 For more than twenty years I have had the privilege of being more than a political friend of Lord Emmott. For more than twenty years I have been a personal friend of Lord Emmott, and in those circumstances, I am sure, your Lordships will forgive me for having intruded upon your proceedings with these few remarks, in relation to one who, I am sure, those who knew him will agree that his death is a real loss to this House.
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, I should like to intervene for a moment. Everyone, I am sure, will feel the great loss which this House has sustained through the death of Lord Emmott. The noble Lord possessed great knowledge and experience, particularly in business matters. I was a member of the other House for a long time when he acted as one of the Chairmen of Committees, and I think at one time as Deputy Speaker, and in every position which he held, and in everything which he did in his Parliamentary life, he showed great tact as well as great knowledge. I should like especially to emphasise what the noble Earl said with regard to his share in our debates. He never took part in our Parliamentary discussions without taking the greatest care to prepare himself, and he gave to this House the full benefit of his knowledge and experience. I am sure we all deeply regret the news of his sudden death, which means a real loss to public life and to this House.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (THE EARL OF BALFOUR)
My Lords, I need hardly say that I entirely agree with the two speeches to which we have just listened from the Leaders of the two Parties opposite, and I should be sorry that this brief, but surely most well-deserved, tribute to Lord Emmott should not receive a formal statement on these Benches. In my case the statement is much more than a formal one. I probably had more to do with Lord Emmott in political life than any noble Lord whom I am now addressing, for he was Chairman of Committees during many years of my active House of Commons life, and I was necessarily, and constantly, brought in contact with him on matters deeply concerning the conduct of business in another place. I always 1570 found, as your Lordships will readily understand, not only that he possessed that clear common sense to which the noble Earl opposite has so properly alluded, but that he was an admirable adviser upon all questions concerning the interest of the House of Commons as a House of Commons, and from which Party was wholly excluded.
He was always a firm supporter through his long political life of one Party in the State, but never, so far as I know, was his judgment ever deflected by Party feelings, and he was never moved by any partizan instinct, certainly while in the Chair. I hardly mention that as praise, because it is an attribute common to all those who preside either in another place or in this House, but quite apart from his actual duties as Chairman of Committees he had a sense of what he owed, and what each individual member of the House of Commons owed, to the public at large. That debt he was always ready to pay, and I believe there was no man in the House of Commons who was listened to with more regard than he was during the many years which he spent in the service of that House. When he came to your Lordships' House the qualities which he had so admirably shown in another place were exhibited with equal lustre here, and I feel, as I am sure all your Lordships will feel, how great is the loss which we have so suddenly and so unexpectedly suffered.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (VISCOUNT PEEL)
My Lords, after the very eloquent tributes that have been paid to the late Lord Emmott, your Lordships will not expect me to say anything, but I wish to add a word from my own personal experience, because it was only a few days ago that I was dealing with Amendments on which Lord Emmott was speaking, and I have for many years in this House had the opportunity of listening with great interest and pleasure to speeches made by him on all sorts of commercial and business questions, on which he spoke with great force and was listened to with the greatest attention. I had also the pleasure for many years of sitting under him when he was Chairman of Committees in another place, and I can bear my humble tribute to the great fairness and dignity with which he occupied that 1571 very high position. I may be allowed very respectfully to associate myself with the tributes which have been paid to Lord Emmott by other speakers.
I rather dislike passing so suddenly into an atmosphere of controversy on the Merchandise Marks Bill, but perhaps I may be permitted to say a few words in reply to the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Cawley. I rather regretted that the noble Lord could not take part in the discussions on the Second Reading and the Committee stage because, if I may say so very respectfully, I think it would have made it unnecessary for him to make some of the observations he has addressed to us this evening. Not once but, I think, four or five times, I replied in the course of those discussions to the point that has now been presented by the noble Lord. Possibly he may forgive me for not going into the big question of general State interference with industry. I should be delighted to do so, but this is not the occasion; perhaps he will put down a Motion some time next year. Nor will I pursue the inquiry into the result of the Act dealing with dyes, on which he also spoke. I may be allowed perhaps to confine myself to those of his remarks which were relevant to this Bill.
§ LORD CAWLEY
I only introduced the question of the Act dealing with dyes as showing how great was the advantage which other countries have over us in the dyeing of goods.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
That is a very large question, with which I should like to deal at the proper opportunity. Another advantage which the noble Lord would have had, had he been here at the earlier stages, would have been to follow the general trend of the arguments used by noble Lords on the other side in regard to this Bill, because the whole force of their attack was that we were really preventing the importation of foreign goods, and that the importers, and consequently the consumers, would suffer. But the argument of the noble Lord is of a precisely opposite kind. He is afraid, not that this Bill will prevent the import of foreign goods, but that it will increase the import, because it will advertise them. I said in my opening observations that I would leave the advocates of those different schools—those who said 1572 that the Bill would stop imports, and those who said that it would increase them—to fight out their own difficulties together, because they must elect on what lines they are going to attack this Bill. That is another advantage which the noble Lord would have had had he been present.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
The noble Lord may have read them, but my next observation will show that he has not marked, learned and inwardly digested them, because he has told us that everybody of experience is against this Bill. Had he done me the honour to read my speech on the Second Reading it would have been absolutely impossible to make a statement of that kind—a statement, may I say, that I can only describe as ridiculous. I quoted a long list of the people who supported this Bill in the country. Let me take one or two of them. Will the noble Lord get up and say that the Federation of British Industries have no experience of business? Of course, he will not say anything so absurd. What about the National Union of Manufacturers? Do they contain no men of experience? I challenge the noble Lord to get up and say whether he supports so absurd a thesis that nobody of experience supports this Bill.
§ LORD CAWLEY
The Manchester Chamber of Commerce knows far more about the textile trade than any other body.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
I have not got to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce at present. The noble Lord is too hasty. I began with the manufacturers because I said we ought to consider the interests of manufacturers. As I have said, the Associated Chambers of Commerce support this Bill. When I stated that a few days ago the noble Lord opposite, Lord Parmoor, said, "Oh, but those people only meet once a year."
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
At any rate, it was suggested from the opposite Bench, and an effort was made to discount my statement.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
May I respectfully reply to that point, because I have made inquiries, and I find that, apart from the fact that this body meets several times a year, the Council of the Association meets every month, and therefore, if the Council had wanted to alter its opinion, it would obviously have done so, and have made representations on the subject. Therefore, the noble Lord, Lord Cawley, again is entirely wrong in stating that people of experience are all ranged with him. On the contrary, there are all these great bodies of manufacturers, and there is also the great agricultural interest which, I suppose, contains people of experience. I really must apologise to noble Lords for going over this old ground again, but I am forced to do so because we have had a Second Reading speech made by the noble Lord on this occasion, and I cannot deal with it as shortly as I otherwise should, because I might be told I was shirking some of these issues.
With the other point I can deal very shortly. The noble Lord spoke about textiles, and about his great knowledge of textiles. I could not help thinking that, although he may have great knowledge of textiles, he has no knowledge whatever of this Bill. He cannot have read or studied the Bill.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
Then why does he make observations about it which are not relevant to the Bill itself?
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
The attack of the noble Lord was based on this, that the Bill damages British trade. That is his whole thesis. He assumes it; he does not prove it, but he attacks the Bill on that ground. He has not taken the trouble to acquaint himself with the provisions of the Bill itself.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
I say so because the noble Lord assumes that the textile trade is going to suffer by the provisions of this Bill. I challenge him to show how the textile trade will suffer.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
I challenge him to show it, because all the representations that may be made to the Committees are to be made by persons having a substantial interest in these businesses. What the noble Lord does not seem to see is that if the dyers and manufacturers do not want these articles to be marked when they have incurred some substantial change on coming back from another country after having been dyed, and so on, they will not be marked. The whole object of the Bill is to assist industry, and is it to be thought that a Committee before which these interests appear is going to give a decision about the marking of goods when the substantial interests engaged in them are against it? The noble Lord does not seem to understand that these Committees advise the Board of Trade, and that the Board of Trade acts on the advice of Committees who have heard all the evidence and have had the whole position put before them whether by dyers or manufacturers or other allied trades, and having heard all this, they come to a conclusion.
Any representations, of course, made by the noble Lord himself would, no doubt, carry great weight if they were brought before these Committees. But the assumption is—and that is the assumption of the opposition to this Bill all through—that these Committees apparently are not going to act on evidence, but will come to the most absurd and ridiculous decisions. I really cannot go through the safeguards again, because I have pointed them out many times. If you assume that the Bill will be administered in a spirit quite contrary to that in which it is conceived and in a way in which no reasonable body of men would ever administer a Bill, there may be something in the noble Lord's contention; but as the whole matter is to be brought before carefully selected Committees, semi-judicial Committees, consisting of men of great experience in affairs and in business, I think that all these suggestions that have been made at this stage, on the Committee stage and during the Second Reading, are really without any foundation at all, and I think the noble Lord may well keep his fears to himself.
§ LORD ARNOLD
My Lords, it might not be inconvenient, perhaps, if I were to say now the very few words that I wish to say before this Bill passes from your Lordships' House rather than on the Third Reading to-morrow, because I think there will be a full programme of business before your Lordships then. The noble Viscount has used some very strong language in regard to this matter and he has reminded your Lordships of a certain support which he claims for the Bill. He indicated, for instance, the Federation of British Industries, the National Union of Manufacturers and so on. Speaking for myself, I have said before (and I am sure the noble Lord behind me would not dissent) that so far as the manufacturers are concerned some of them are in favour of some provisions of the Bill. Obviously that will be so because it will give them Protection and many of these manufacturers would prefer the import of certain foreign goods to be prohibited altogether. Therefore there is really nothing in that. But there are other persons in the country as well as the manufacturers. There are the traders and importers, there is the shipping trade and, above all, there are the consumers, and we do not think that the interests of all these people are sufficiently protected.
The noble Viscount says that when we say that this Bill will damage trade we do not prove it. But our arguments do prove it so far as that can be done in advance. The same arguments were used in regard to the Safeguarding of Industries legislation. It was pointed out then that the Act would particularly injure the re-export trade and I gave figures proving how very seriously the re-export trade had been injured. What did the noble Viscount say in reply? He did not challenge the figures. He said it was very inconvenient to have figures brought forward by themselves, but that probably it was all right because there might be a big increase in the home production. But he did not support that in any way.
I have taken the trouble to look into it since and I find that there is nothing whatever to support that view. So far as the silk manufacturers are concerned, for instance, unemployment, which is some test if studied carefully, is decidedly greater now that it was two years ago, and even in April, before the coal strike, 1576 it was decidedly greater than it was in October, 1924, the last month down to which I could give figures. So far as lace in concerned, unemployment is no worse; indeed, so far as that goes the position is slightly better. Nevertheless, the fact remains that in the current issue of a trade journal of that industry the statement is made that it is in a most unsatisfactory condition. I do not want to bind myself to the words as I have not seen them and everything has to be done in a hurry, but I believe they are: "The Trade was never worse." When you come to the facts, the noble Lord has advanced statements that can be put to the proof regarding the Safeguarding of Industries Act and its effect on the export trade. And I think that what we have said regarding this Bill will prove to be correct.
The noble Viscount has not adduced to your Lordships any support, so far as I know, from really representative bodies in Lancashire and Yorkshire in reference to the very important Amendments regarding dyeing and bleaching about which the noble Lord has made a statement. On the other hand as I pointed out on Thursday evening—the hour was late and the matter could only be inadequately discussed—very important sections of the trade, indeed, in Lancashire and Yorkshire were extremely disturbed about this matter and it was not sufficient to be told that the Committees would see that it was all right. We have been told that before and it has not proved satisfactory. We have no confidence in these Committees which are set up by the Board of Trade. It can be proved to five places of decimals—I do not say in all eases—that on various occasions they have gone behind their directions in the White Paper, and, therefore, there are very great misgivings as to what might happen.
There is no real demand from industry for this measure except so far as agriculture is concerned—I have not denied that the poultry farmers want Protection—therefore, I say it is not a right thing to introduce such legislation as this. It is more particularly not a right thing to do in view of the pledges given at the General Election by the Prime Minister in order to get the votes of those who are opposed to Protection of any kind.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to1577
§ Clause 2:
§ Power to require indication of origin in the case of certain imported goods.
§ 2.—(1) After an inquiry in relation to goods of any class or description has on a reference from the appropriate department been held by a committee appointed for the purposes of this Act (in this Act referred to as "a committee") and the report of the committee on the matter has been taken into consideration by the department, that department may, unless it appears to them that the trade of the United Kingdom or the trade generally of other parts of His Majesty's Dominions with the United Kingdom would be prejudiced if imported goods of that class or description for use or consumption in the United Kingdom were prohibited to be sold unless they bear an indication of origin, make a representation to His Majesty that it is desirable that an Order should be made under this section, and His Majesty in Council may thereupon, subject to the provisions of this Act, make an Order prohibiting the sale, or the exposure for sale in the United Kingdom, of imported goods of that class or description unless they bear an indication of origin.
LORD ASKWITH moved, in subsection (1), after "prohibiting the sale, or the exposure for sale," to leave out "in the United Kingdom" and insert "or by way of advertising goods of some other kind the distribution." The noble Lord said: My Lords, I had given notice to move on the Committee stage an Amendment to insert the word "distribution" in Clause 2 of this Bill. When it came forward, as the noble Viscount had already proposed in Clause 1 that the words "distribute by way of advertisement" should be "by way of advertising goods of some other kind distribute," my Amendment was deferred with a view to considering whether those words could be put into the Bill and what effect they would then have. If the two Amendments that I have on the Paper are accepted the Bill will read that under certain circumstances His Majesty in Council may thereupon
subject to the provisions of this Act, make an Order prohibiting the sale, or the exposure for sale or by way of advertising goods of some other kind the distribution of imported goods of that class or description in the United Kingdom unless they bear an indication of origin.
I think that would be in quite as good English there as it is in Clause 1. I beg to move.
Page 3, line 3, leave out ("in the United Kingdom") and insert ("or by way of advertising goods of some other kind the distribution").—(Lord Askwith.)
§ LORD ARNOLD
My Lords, the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord raises again the question which was discussed, I admit at some length, on Thursday last. But there is one question and one question only, which I should like to ask in regard to it, because although I asked this question twice myself and several other noble Lords asked it last Thursday, it really was not answered. Will the noble Viscount explain to your Lordships before this Bill passes on to the Statute Book what is the reason for this distinction between advertising goods of some other kind and advertising goods of the same kind? Why, in future, it to be legal to distribute articles, or receptacles, or whatever they may be, which have been imported from abroad and made abroad which have on them a British name if they are advertising goods of the same kind, but illegal if they are advertising goods of some other kind? It seems to me that there is no logical distinction whatever in principle between the two things. Why, for instance, should you be allowed to give away little sample penknives made abroad and marked with a British name if they are to advertise larger penknives, or little razors if they are to advertise larger razors, when you cannot give away penknives to advertise razors or razors to advertise penknives? That is the real point.
This clause might in certain circumstances have a distinctly unfortunate effect. If it is said, as it may be said—I do not know; I am asking for information—that it has relation perhaps to little samples, or sample books, and that merchants or manufacturers ought to be allowed to distribute sample books in future, because they are advertising the same kind of goods as those it is desired to sell, the point remains that it must not be done if they are advertising goods of some other kind. I do not think that is really logical. If the sample book is made abroad and bears the British name it seems to me, so far as logic is concerned, that there is no difference between that and a case, such as I have been describing, of giving away or exhibiting something which is advertising an article of another kind. I have done my best to understand what is the reason for this distinction and I should be very much obliged if the noble 1579 Viscount in his reply would explain why this extraordinary provision is made in this way.
§ LORD BLEDISLOE
My Lords, my noble friend has asked me to reply to the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Askwith. As regards the small penknives and the big penknives and the little razors and the big razors, my noble friend (Viscount Peel) is looking forward to the pleasure of replying personally on those matters. My noble friend Lord Askwith desires to see incorporated in this clause words which are taken almost literally from Clause 1 of the Bill. That clause, as your Lordships will remember, deals with what is called "latent misrepresentation" and is merely an extension of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887. But this clause goes very much further and is intended to go very much further. It gives a power to require a qualifying indication of origin, even when there is nothing whatever marked upon goods to suggest they are British and the opinion of the Government is that it is not desirable to stretch the present clause beyond what is to be found in the Bill.
To take an illustration, it does not matter whether it is Dewars who are advertising their whiskey with a pencil or whether it is Guinness who are advertising their particular product with an ashtray, if the ashtray or the pencil has the advertiser's name upon it—has the name of the firm which it is intended to advertise on it—and it comes from abroad without any mark of origin, it will be caught by Clause 1 of the Bill. If it has not got the advertiser's name on it, it is difficult to see what value it would have as an advertisement. In fact, it surely would not be an advertisement, but would be only of the nature of a gift or present. I think my noble friend, if he will look a little more into Clause 5 of this Bill, will find that the distribution of such articles by way of advertisement will be adequately dealt with there in the course of administration and this will probably entirely satisfy his requirements. I regret that we do not see our way to accept the Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
My Lords, I only rise for a moment because the noble Lord asked me a question. I know it is not in order, but perhaps your Lordships will 1580 permit me to make one observation about another question which the noble Lord asked me in an earlier speech. He raised certain points about the Silk Duties and gave some figures from which he drew the inference that the re-export in silk had suffered as a consequence of the Silk Duties. I think that was his point. He must take my answer as provisional, because I have not had time to look into it thoroughly. I took the trouble, however, to make an inquiry after he spoke and I am told that the Customs have reason to believe that as far, anyhow, as a considerable part of this trade is concerned, it is not a fact that the trade has disappeared but that it only goes on under a different name—that is to say, it is carried on under the heading of "transhipment under bond" and does not appear in the re-export figures. I understand that we have not yet got the figures of transhipments under bond, but I am told that when those figures are given the complexion to be put upon them will be very different from the interpretation that the noble Lord put upon the figures he gave. The noble Lord does not accept my statement I see, but that is what I am informed officially.
The noble Lord's other point, I think, has practically been answered by my noble friend Lord Bledisloe. The noble Lord's point was: "Why do you only penalise, as it were, these goods when they advertise other goods?" The mischief that it is designed to meet comes under Clause 1 of the Bill dealing with cases, as my noble friend very justly called them, of latent misrepresentation. If, being foreign goods, they have upon them the name of a British manufacturer or trader, they no doubt would tend to advertise goods which are foreign goods as if they were British goods and would tend to suggest that they are probably made by the man who sends them round. At any rate, the object of penalising this particular form of advertising is to make sure that the foreign goods do not masquerade as British goods. That really is the point. The case of firms sending round the goods themselves when they do not advertise other goods but advertise themselves is dealt with under Clause 5. The point really is that Clause 2 deals with the general marking of goods, whereas Clause 1—and I think that is where the 1581 difficulty comes in—deals with the specific case of goods coming into this country and being sold under a British name which might give the idea, or indicate, that they were of British origin. That, as far as I understand it, is the real distinction.
§ LORD ARNOLD
Is it not the case, if there is anything in this point about latent misrepresentation—as a matter of fact, there is nothing in it—that it applies equally if they are goods to advertise goods of the same kind as if they were goods to advertise goods of another kind?
§ LORD ASKWITH
My Lords, after the explanation of the noble Viscount I do not wish to press this Amendment. I see that subsection (5) is wide and the noble Viscount gave me an assurance on the last occasion that the provisions of Clause 1 would not prevent such trades as the printing trade from having an inquiry under Clause 2.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.