§ 77. Mr. Prescott
asked the President of the Board of Trade, if he is aware of the widespread concern in the British furniture industry over the importation of foreign furniture, especially when non-utility; and what further purchases are proposed.
§ Mr. Belcher
I am aware of the industry's anxiety in this matter, but the argument that imports of furniture take work away from our own factories rests on the belief that we could buy more timber if we did not buy furniture. This belief is entirely unfounded. We buy all the timber we can get and great care is taken to see that timber purchases are not prejudiced by furniture purchases. I have no evidence that extra timber would be forthcoming if we stopped buying this furniture which the public so badly needs. The amount of non-utility furniture which has been imported is equivalent to less than one day's utility production in this country. We shall make further purchases abroad as and when suitable utility type furniture is offered, but we do not propose at present to make any further bulk purchases of non-utility furniture.