Mr. H. Stewart
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that, in agreeing to recommend higher duties upon imported superphosphate, the Import Duties Advisory Committee entered into an arrangement with the Fertiliser Manufacturers' Association under which the Import Duties Advisory Committee in practice regulate the prices of superphosphate; and, in view of the fact that this practice is causing dissatisfaction to and the imposition of heavy additional burdens upon Scottish farmers, what steps he is prepared to take in the matter?
§ Dr. Burgin
As I explained in Debate in December, 1934, on the Motion for the confirmation of the Order imposing these duties, the Fertiliser Manufacturers' Association gave an assurance not to raise prices above those of 1933–34 to the consumer unless there was an increase in the cost of the raw material or, in exceptional circumstances, on account of a rise in labour costs. Further, any such increase could only be made after consultation with the National Farmers' Unions of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and with the consent of the Import Duties Advisory Committee. These conditions have been complied with so far as the recent increase in price is concerned, and in the circumstances I do not see my way to take any action in the matter.