HC Deb 01 December 1920 vol 135 c1268W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the German firm which makes the Bosch magneto is one of the German engineering combines of many firms which controls practically the whole of the German engineering output; whether he is aware that these firms pool their profits and losses, and attack in detail by underselling British industries, the combine bearing the loss until the particular industry is extinguished in Britain, when the loss is recouped to the German combine by the raising of prices; and, in view of the congested state of business in the House and the unlikelihood of being able to legislate until the British magneto businesses are out of commission and their operatives emigrated, he will make use of the emergency powers residing in the Government and act upon the Final Report of the Committee on Commercial and Industrial Policy after the War (Cmd. 9035), 1918, which recommended that there shall be total prohibition of German magnetos for five years, subject to licence, that an import duty of 331/3 per cent, be imposed on all imports of magnetos, and that the Government Departments shall specify British magnetos for all their requirements?


I am aware of the reports regarding the combines to which my hon. Friend refers, but my information is not sufficiently authenticated to enable me to confirm his statement as to the policy of the combine. If my hon. Friend has any definite information, I should be glad to receive it. The Government have not the emergency powers referred to in the last part of the question, but, as already announced, the Government intend to introduce legislation at the beginning of next Session. Wherever practicable, Government Departments specify British magnetos for their requirements.