asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the statement made before the referee that the day following the publication of the Board of Trade list wherein Santonine was included as a fine chemical and subject to a duty of 33⅓ per cent. the wholesale dealers increased their price by 30 per cent.; can he give the number of other commodities on which similar in- creases were imposed; if not, can he take any action to ascertain the number; and would he consider the advisability, on any other fresh articles being included, of providing legislation to prevent an increase in price except on goods on which duty has actually been paid?
I am aware that the statement mentioned by the hon. Member was made in the course of the Santonine case. I am unable to state in how many cases advances were made, but I may point out that in a number of instances the prices of chemicals have fallen since the Act was passed. An inquiry into the price movements of all commodities covered by the Schedule to the Act would involve so much labour that it would not be justified by the utility of the results obtained. The suggestion made in the last part of the question is, in my opinion, impracticable.
Could not the right hon. Gentleman even attend to these people, and make them aware, say, of the opinion of the Minister of Health, that every man who benefits by the tariff is a robber, and that, therefore, a man who benefits by a prospective tariff is worse than a robber?