asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has received a letter from the National Federation of Paint, Varnish, and Colour Manufacturers containing a statement as to the difference in price between the various grades of English and foreign lime greens; if this difference amounts, in the case of the cheaper qualities, to 100 per cent., the price of the English article being double that of the foreign goods of the same quality; and whether, in view of this, he is prepared to reconsider previous decisions of the Dyestuffs Advisory Licensing Committee in regard to the issue of licences to import this commodity?
My right hon. Friend received the letter to which the hon. and gallant Member refers, stating that whilst the German prices for the cheaper grades of lime green are about one-half the price of equal grades of British make, the price difference diminishes as the quality improves, until for the highest grade the British and German prices closely approximate. The same federation has also informed the Licensing Committee that the difference in price is of no material importance in its effect upon the cost of production of the finished goods into which lime green enters, and, in view of this, I do not propose to ask the Committee to reconsider their decision, which was reached after exhaustive inquiry into the whole matter.
On the other hand, does the hon. and gallant Gentleman know that the people who use this material are in my constituency, and, therefore, may be expected to know most about the matter? They say they are losing orders to-day through being unable to get the cheap raw material that they need.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any arrangements are being made or contemplated whereby all profits made by the central importing agency out of the sales of German reparation dyestuffs on behalf of the Government are to be handed over to British dye makers?
No arrangements of the kind suggested have been made. Certain proposals for the assistance of the dye-making industry as a whole by the further co-operation of the dye users and the State have, however, been tentatively put before the President of the Board of Trade, and he is in consultation with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject.
As the House is to rise till November, cannot we have an assurance that we shall not be faced with a fait accompli, and that the money will not be handed over, to be wasted, without our sanction being requested?