Clause 7. — (Short title, construction and extent.)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 19th November 1931.

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Photo of Vice-Admiral Ernest Taylor Vice-Admiral Ernest Taylor , Paddington South

As an ardent Protectionist and supporter of this policy, I welcome this opportunity of giving my approval to a Bill which is only a first step towards that change in our fiscal policy for which the Government has received so clear a mandate from the great mass of the electors, a mandate to restrict the importation of foreign goods. It is also an earnest of the intention of the Government to carry into operation at the earliest possible moment that change. This is only the first step out of which must come a full protective policy for our industries. The hon. Member for Bridgeton is perturbed because he thinks the standard of living of the people will be in jeopardy of being lowered, but I would remind him of the cases of those industries which have already received a measure of Protection. In their case there has been increased employment, of which I am sure the hon. Member approves, whilst the imports have been lessened and the exports increased. It has not decreased exports. In addition, it has increased the wages of the people who are employed. [Interruption.] That is a fact. There is the case of translucent pottery and lace, where wages went up. This is the only policy which will protect the standard of living of the workers.

I regret that the scope of the Bill is so small. It is restricted to articles in Class III. If we are to bring prosperity to the people of this country, to restrict imports and give all industries a chance, there must be protection, not only for articles in Class III but for agriculture as well as other industries. A tariff is not only introduced to restrict imports or bring in revenue. The real object of a tariff is to increase the production of the industries of the country, and I cannot understand how any hon. Member can object to a policy which has that as its object; an object which has been achieved wherever the policy has been tried. So far as our