Oral Answers to Questions — Dyestuffs (Import Regulation).

– in the House of Commons on 27th February 1922.

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Photo of Mr James Kiley Mr James Kiley , Stepney Whitechapel and St George's

17.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has approved of the action of the Dyestuff Advisory Licensing Committee in demanding from applicants for licences to import dyes highly confidential business information, such as the name of the foreign manufacturer, the purpose for which the dyes are required, and the name and address of the applicant's customer in this country; and whether the rules for the administration of the Dye-stuffs (Import Regulation) Act can be revised so as not to compel applicants to disclose confidential information to business rivals who are members of the Committee?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

I am aware that the Dyestuffs Advisory Licensing Committee have thought it advisable, for the efficient discharge of their duties, to ask for information of the kind indicated from applicants for licences. I see no reason for interfering with the exercise of their discretion in this matter, which, so far as I am aware, has not been a cause of complaint by users. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the provisions of Section 2, Sub-section (5), of the Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Act.

Photo of Mr James Kiley Mr James Kiley , Stepney Whitechapel and St George's

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any satisfactory reasons why one firm should be compelled to disclose the names of their customers to their competitors?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

No complaints have reached me on the subject yet.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

21.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that it is the practice of the Dyestuffs Committee, when an application is made for permission to import certain German dyes not made in this country, to advise the applicant to apply to Swiss agents for the same; and can he give any reason for such proceedings?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

I understand that in accordance with the strong wish of the dye-users generally, in consequence of the assistance rendered by the Swiss dye-makers to the textile industries during the War, such advice has been given.

Photo of Mr James Kiley Mr James Kiley , Stepney Whitechapel and St George's

Does that mean that if the applicant does not want to go to Switzerland he would not be allowed to import the dye at all?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

I do not say that that follows.

Photo of Mr Peter Raffan Mr Peter Raffan , Leigh

22.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is prepared to immediately institute an inquiry on the working of the Dyestuff Advisory Licensing Committee and to hear evidence of specific cases of injury to industries consuming dyes caused by the continual refusal of the Licensing Committee to grant licences for specific dyes not obtainable from home sources of supply?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

No, Sir. I have no reason to suppose that there is any serious dissatisfaction among dye-users generally with the operations of the Committee, on which the users are strongly represented and which is discharging a very difficult task with great care and ability.

Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY:

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that certain branches of industry in Scotland are seriously hampered by the dye-stuffs policy of the Government?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

If so, representations can be made before, the Committee.

Photo of Mr Austin Hopkinson Mr Austin Hopkinson , Mossley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of the most important firms in England are also similarly hampered?

Photo of Mr Peter Raffan Mr Peter Raffan , Leigh

If the right hon. Gentleman is not prepared to set up a committee himself, will he make inquiries into this matter with a view to ascertaining the facts?

Photo of Mr James Kiley Mr James Kiley , Stepney Whitechapel and St George's

Is there any appeal whatever from this Committee in case of necessity?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

I should want notice of that question. With regard to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Mr. Raffan), I am in touch with this Committee, and I see them whenever they desire to see me on any matters affecting their work.

Photo of Mr Samuel Galbraith Mr Samuel Galbraith , Spennymoor

24.

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of applications received by the Dyestuffs Committee for permission to import special dyes from Germany for the reason that such dyes are not procurable in England; and the number which have been granted and the number of similar applications to import dyes from Switzerland?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

The numbers of licence applications granted and refused could not be given without going through the files, as no record as to numbers is kept, and they would not, I think, be of any appreciable significance; but as regards quantities during the year ended the 31st December last, applications to import 671,032 lbs. from Germany were granted, and applications to import 771,109 lbs. were "refused. During the same period applications to import from Switzerland were allowed in respect of 1,796,754 lbs., and refused in respect of 502,579 lbs.