Import Deposit Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th May 1969.

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Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South 12:00 am, 20th May 1969

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what decrease in imports and effect on the balance of payments has been achieved since the inauguration of the imports' deposit scheme; and whether he will now take steps to terminate this scheme on 31st July 1969.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

Imports of goods mainly liable to the scheme averaged £235·5 million in the first five months of the scheme. In the previous five months they averaged £243 million. It is not possible to say what imports would have been in the absence of the scheme. The answer to the second part of the Question is "No, Sir".

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South

Do not those figures show a diminution of less than 1 per cent. in the rate of imports? Having regard to the infinitesimal results and minimal outcome after such a brouhaha from the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the importance of the scheme, will he not scrap the scheme as soon as possible and have recourse, without exaggeration, to more effective methods?

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

I must inform the hon. Gentleman, despite the noise, that his arithmetic is not correct. If he reflects on the figures, he will see that there has been a decrease of 3 per cent.

Photo of Mr Fred Blackburn Mr Fred Blackburn , Stalybridge and Hyde

Since other efforts to control imports have failed lamentably, is it not time the Government gave further consideration to import controls, which some of us have been advocating since 1964?

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

The arguments for and against import controls have been elaborated since 1964. This is not the occasion on which to debate them.