§ 2.38 p.m.
§ [The question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government, whether it is to be understood that the refusal of licences for imports into the United Kingdom of sterling origin raw materials discarded by the United States after selection as unsuitable for their own requirements, and thus made available to United Kingdom manufacturers at prices lower than those procurable in original sterling, markets, is in accordance with the intentions of the United States in granting the dollar loan to the United Kingdom, and of His Majesty's Government where its effect must be to forego a contribution to lower cost of manufacture in the United Kingdom of goods for export or home consumption.]
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, import licence applications of the kind referred to by the noble Lord are few in number and are considered individually on their merits. The intention of the United States Loan was, of course, to assist the United Kingdom to purchase its essential requirements of raw materials and other supplies, but this does not mean that all applications for licences to import raw materials should necessarily be granted; due regard must be paid to our balance of payments position. In the particular case which I think the noble Lord has in mind, my 505 right honourable and learned friend the President of the Board of Trade does not consider that there are sufficient grounds for granting an import licence.
§ LORD BARNBY
Arising out of that reply I beg leave to ask the noble Lord if he will ask the Department concerned —in this case the Board of Trade—if the deduction is to be made from that answer that licences will be withheld for the purchase of raw materials of sterling origin temporarily in dollar possession, particularly if those materials are subject to normal multi-angular trade. In the reply just given it was said that the applications were few. Obviously, as they have been systematically refused, they would be few. I would ask whether it is the intention to deny those applicants the necessary dollars to make the purchase. If so, it has necessarily the effect of denying to users arid manufacturers in this country raw material at normal prices, and depriving them of a contribution towards the lower cost of manufacture for use in this country.
§ LORD CHORLEY
The noble Lord has asked me to bring the supplementary question to the notice of my right honourable and learned friend, and I can assure him that I will do so.