I intend to restrict my answer to points directly relevant to the prior deposit. Without disrespect to the points raised by the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall), much of what he said was against the whole principle of credit restriction and that if a firm manages to raise £100,000 for this it will not have it for other purposes.
I am concerned with the case raised by the hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) about prior contract for goods in transit. He asked whether it would affect the scheme. Of course it would, because many contracts have been entered and many shipments may take something like three months to arrive. This is particularly true of goods from Australia, Hong-kong or Japan, sent by sea. In the course of the 12 months Scheme it would make a considerable difference if goods which take three months to arrive were exempt from the scope of the Scheme. It would seem to discriminate against our near neighbours if goods in transit from distant parts were exempt whereas the goods from our near neighbours were not.
The important answer to the major point is that it has been the standard practice not only of this Government, but of previous Governments that where there has been a change in customs duties, they should apply from a fixed operative date without exception. This has not only been the practice of the present Government. It was also the custom of other Governments. This argument in relation to Customs duties applies equally to this deposit—