Exports and Imports (Shipping Priorities).

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 6th August 1942.

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Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

asked the Prime Minister which Minister is responsible for the allocation of shipping priorities in respect of both exports and imports to and from overseas?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The main lines of our import programme are determined by the War Cabinet. Within this programme, responsibility is divided between the Minister of Production, who deals with all imports other than food, and the Minister of Food. Subject to the broad policy laid down by His Majesty's Government, responsibility for commercial exports from this country rests with the President of the Board of Trade.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

In view of the fact that the Minister of Production is a recent appointment, upon which member of the Cabinet did this duty devolve before the establishment of that office?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Will my right hon. Friend be good enough to give personal attention to an important aspect of this problem, namely, the export of goods from this country in ships which are otherwise carrying ballast?—Did he see the statement made at the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, by the hon. Member for Pudsey (Sir G. Gibson) which appeared in "The Times," that a ship proceeding on the outward and homeward voyages carried 3,000 tons of ballast when it could have carried goods?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

May I ask the Deputy Prime Minister, who has been a member of the War Cabinet from the start, why he cannot give the information for which I have asked about the work of one of his colleagues? Is there any reason in the public interest why this should not be disclosed?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I suggest to my hon. and gallant Friend that if he wants to ask a historical Question he should put it on the Paper.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

This is a definite refusal to answer.