Import Duties (Import Duties Act, 1932).

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 12th November 1936.

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Photo of Mr Edward Burgin Mr Edward Burgin , Luton

I am not sure whether the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Acland) was in his place when I introduced these Orders, because I gathered from his remarks that nothing had been said about knives; but in introducing the Orders I was careful to point out that the question with regard to knives was not one of price. The knives for splitting skins are essential machine tools, and it was thought desirable that there should be an adequate and healthy manufacture of these knives in this country. Consequently, I dismiss at once any question of prices. What I am concerned about is to see that a tool which we greatly require should be made here. The hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benson) and a number of other hon. Members have referred to the question of tiles. Some reference was made to the price of 5s. The figure that I have as the c.i.f. value of the foreign tile is 3s. ld. per square yard. That is the information which I am able to give to the House.

The hon. Member for Chesterfield said quite rightly that there has been a, big boom in building, a great demand for tiles, so that it is no wonder that the demand for tiles, foreign and British, has gone up. There is, however, another consideration. If in an expanding industry it is found that the proportion of that expansion which is being taken by foreign imports is growing, it is time to do something about the matter. This House has decided what to do about it by passing an Act of Parliament which places the Import Duties Advisory Committee in the position to receive evidence, to hear the whole of the case and to go into it in detail—not to ask one friend in the trade whether he happens to have heard of a knife.