Electrical Instruments.

Oral Answers to Questions — Safeguarding of Industries Act. – in the House of Commons on 10th July 1922.

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Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

18.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that, under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, a complaint was recently referred to a Committee in respect of scientific instruments imported from. Germany on which the complainants desired the duty to be increased from 33⅓ per cent. to 66⅔per cent.; that the Electrical Importers' and Traders' Association inquired at his Department as to whether this application covered electrical instruments, and was informed that it did; that on account of this information steps were taken at considerable expense to formulate evidence in respect of electrical instruments; whether he is aware that, on the introduction of the evidence in question, the complainants stated that they did not propose to press their application for a duty in so far as electrical instruments were concerned; and whether he will take steps to see that the precise scope of these complaints is more accurately defined before such proceedings are started, in order that traders may not be involved in entirely unnecessary inconvenience and expense?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

The scope of this complaint, as originally defined by the applicants to the Board of Trade and the Committee, included electrical instruments, but I am informed that at a later stage of the inquiry the applicants withdrew that part of the complaint which related to electrical instruments of 24 specified classes. Every effort is made to ensure that the scope of complaints referred to Committees is defined so far as practicable.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

Does the right hon. Gentleman really appreciate the unnecessary inconvenience thus caused to traders'? Cannot he do something to prevent the making of these indeterminate complaints?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

I agree with my hon. Friend, but I have no control over those who make the complaints. They can withdraw them if they choose.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman make some Regulation which would render it impossible for people to bring complaints unless they are really definite?

Photo of Mr Stanley Baldwin Mr Stanley Baldwin , Bewdley

I thought my Regulations were unpopular.

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

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman take some action to secure that these people shall pay the costs arising from their making charges and then running away from them?