asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the list of articles that have been removed from the schedule prepared by the Board of Trade under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act by reason of the decision of a referee appointed under the Act; and what articles are the subject of orders made under Part II of the same Act?
The items removed by direction of the Referee from the lists issued by the Board of Trade under Section I (5) of the Safeguarding of Industries Act are camphor, synthetic; citric acid, cream of tartar, R. lactose, santonine, and tartaric acid. A small number of other items have been deleted, and in certain other cases the standard of the dutiable grade has been raised, in accord with what the Board understood to be the general views of the Referee. I am causing a list of these amendments to be sent to the hon. and gallant Member, but I may observe that in respect of certain of the deletions the action of the Board has been challenged by persons intertested. No Order has yet been made under Part II of the Act.
asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the rise in wages in Germany during the last few months and if he will take this into consideration when considering the making of Orders under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, since experience shows that wages figures embodied by complainants in their applications become quite out of date and misleading by the time the complaints are dealt with by Committees of Inquiry?
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that his Statistical Department has prepared a schedule for guidance in connection with the present glass bottles inquiry which shows that the recent disparity between the internal and external value of the mark is rapidly disappearing; whether his attention has been called to the figures given in the "Labour Gazette" for May, 1922, indicating a rise in the cost of living in Germany from 863 per cent. over pre-War in July last to 3,075 per cent. in April of this year; and whether he will take these facts into account before making any Order under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, especially in regard to goods reported on by Committees which completed their inquiries before these changes had developed and before the figures above referred to were available?
My attention has been called to the movements in wages and cost of living in Germany to which reference is made. I must point out, however, that such changes constitute only one of the factors of the problem, and that the sterling value of the mark has depreciated while increases in wages, reckoned in marks, have been in progress. The applicability of the conclusions of the Committees of Inquiry to present circumstances must be determined in the light of available. information regarding changes in all the important factors, and I can assure the hon. Members that very careful attention is given to these matters.
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can now state the policy of the Government in regard to bringing into operation Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act in connection with the fabric glove and other industries which the Board of Trade Committees have recommended should receive the protection of the Act; and whether he will now circulate for the information of Members copies of the Reports of such Committees?
As regards the first part of this question, there are similar questions on the Paper addressed to the Prime Minister, and perhaps my hon. Friend will await the answer to his question at the same time. As regards the second part of the question, the Reports of the Committees will be published in the course of a few days.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister then desired the presence of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade when he answered the question. The Prime Minister asked me to say he would gladly answer the question on Thursday next, if my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) would prefer to postpone it until then. I am prepared, however, to give him the answer at once.
It is the intention of the Government to lay before the House at a very early date, for approval in accordance with the provisions of Section 2 (4) of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, an Order under Part II of the Act in respect of certain classes of goods as to which Committees have reported that the conditions laid down in the Act are fulfilled.