I would refer to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend, the Member for Newbury (Sir A. Hurd) on 23rd January, when I said that the Government had reached the conclusion that there was not sufficient justification for an increase in the tariff on new potatoes, fresh tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower or lettuce and endive. The application on flowers is still being considered.
Does my right hon. Friend realise that this decision has caused a great deal of concern and dismay in this industry because of the apparent weakening of, not departure from, what has always been a major principle of Government policy towards the industry? Further, does he realise that whatever may be the wisdom, in the long term, of the new measures announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture on Monday, they cannot possibly bring the much-needed help to this industry in time?
I do not think that the economic case for helping the industry through an increase in the tariff was made out. On the other hand, the scheme of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture will be a very great help, and I hope that the industry will give it close attention.
That Question was answered with No. 31. I looked at the hon. Member to see if he wanted to ask a supplementary question but he did not get up. Mr. du Cann.
May I ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware that the anxiety of the producers in framing these applications for tariffs is simply to ensure that their market is not flooded with largely unregulated imports at a time when they themselves are able and willing to supply the home market? Is my right hon Friend aware that the recent decisions of the Board of Trade are causing grave concern among producers? With these facts in mind, will he re-examine all these questions?
I understand very well the anxieties of the producers, and the substance of their application is that they are being injured by imports, but this has to be shown by examination. It is because we are still concerned with examining that point that I cannot today give a decision for cut flowers.
Does my right hon. Friend's reply mean that he does not exclude a system of negotiation for the limitation of imports such as that which he successfully concluded with the butter exporting countries which dumped subsidised butter?