Silk Duties.

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance. – in the House of Commons at on 3 May 1932.

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Photo of Mr John Remer Mr John Remer , Macclesfield


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he has considered the letter sent from the Silk Association dealing with the figures of revenue from the Silk Duties; if he is aware that if the scheme of the Silk Association is adopted 40,000 workers at present unemployed would find employment, a greater revenue of £1,500,000 would be secured for the Exchequer from the Silk Duties, and a large saving in unemployment pay paid at present to unemployed workers; and, in these circumstances, will he revise the incidence of the Silk Duties on the lines indicated by the Silk Association;

(2) If he is aware that when the 50 per cent. duty was imposed on silk hosiery and tissues wholly or partly of cotton, including artificial silk tissues with even one thread of cotton in the content, both foreign and British manufacturers put down new machinery; that, owing to the decision of the Tariff Advisory Committee that they are not allowed to consider the incidence of these duties, the duties revert to the same position as when abnormal importations were taking place; and if, in these circumstances, he will either alter the incidence of the Silk Duties or make such amendments to the Finance Bill that the Silk Duties, other than the raw material tax on real silk and artificial silk, can be referred to the Tariff Advisory Committee;

(3) if he is aware that artificial silk is selling at 1s. 6d. per pound on the Continent; that one pound makes a dozen pairs of artificial silk stockings; that the import duty on tissue is 3s. 6d. per pound on the content of artificial silk, whereas artificial silk stockings can be imported into this country at 6s. per dozen pairs, on which the ad valorem tax is only 2s.; and what action he intends to take to remove these difficulties of home manufacturers?

Photo of Mr Arthur Ratcliffe Mr Arthur Ratcliffe , Leek

41 and 42.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the 3s. per 1b. import duty on raw silk represents to-day a tax of 40 per cent., while the duty on manufactured silk goods is only 33⅓ per cent., a difference in favour of the foreign manufacturer of 6¼ per cent., plus the lower wages paid to the workers in foreign silk centres; and whether he will consider reducing the duty on raw silk;

(2) whether his attention has been drawn to the competition between textiles made from various classes of raw material, namely, silk, cotton, and wool, such competition being in fabrics used in the garment trade generally; and, seeing that silk alone is handicapped by a raw material duty of 40 per cent. while wool and cotton have no such handicap, what steps will he take to place the silk industry in a position to compete with other textile industries?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the reversion, of the duty on imported silk and artificial silk hosiery to 33⅓ per cent. will have a deleterious effect on the industry, as under this duty the imports increased between 1927 and 1931 by over 500 per cent., and that of the duty of 33⅓ per cent. over half is cancelled by the countervailing raw material duties;, and whether he proposes, to take any steps in the matter?

Photo of Mr John Potter Mr John Potter , Eccles


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that cotton tissues partly containing silk and artificial silk have now been deprived of any kind of protection through the withdrawal of the 50 per cent. abnormal imports duty; and, in view of the hardship to the industry, what steps he intends to take to remedy such hardship?


I cannot accept many of the statements made in the questions as being correct, but while I am not at present in a position to add anything to the statement which I made on 21st April, I am giving further consideration to the representations which have been made to me on this subject.

Photo of Mr Arthur Ratcliffe Mr Arthur Ratcliffe , Leek

Is it the right hon. Gentleman's intention to give the same consideration to this industry as he has given to all other industries, or is it to he excluded from any consideration whatever?


I have said already that I will give consideration to it.