Mr Henry Strauss: None, Sir. The Board of Trade is not a purchasing Department.
Mr Henry Strauss: I think my hon. Friend is putting her Question to the wrong Department. There are about eight Government Departments which order goods, but the Board of Trade is not one of them.
Mr Henry Strauss: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman and to my hon. Friends who have spoken for giving me sufficient time to say a few words on this controversy. I was glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, East and Christchurch (Mr. Nicolson) intervened briefly in order that there should be one representative, at any rate, of the other of the principal parties who recently had so vigorous...
Mr Henry Strauss: I would refer the right hon. Member to the answer given on 4th May to similar Questions on this subject.
Mr Henry Strauss: The Question we had to consider was whether to refer the matter to the Monopolies Commission to which reference was made in the answer on 4th May. On the further question which the right hon. Member has asked, he knows that this is a very complex matter. Many different products are produced from crude oil and, in making the statement about the price of one particular product, I was not sure...
Mr Henry Strauss: The answer given by my right hon. Friend to the Question to which I referred in my original answer today was not unsympathetic, but this is not the only matter for possible reference to the Monopolies Commission. In answer to the last supplementary question, I do not think I have anything to add to my previous answer.
Mr Henry Strauss: That is going beyond the Question on the Paper, but, if the matter were referred to the Monopolies Commission, both we and they would be bound by the terms of the statute.
Mr Henry Strauss: Section 16 of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887, requires that such goods imported into the United Kingdom shall be accompanied by a definite indication of the country in which the goods were made. A notice to importers issued jointly by the Board of Trade and the Commissioners of Customs and Excise and in use since 1927 treats the marking described in the Question as sufficient compliance with...
Mr Henry Strauss: The hon. Member is wrong in thinking that no British manufacturer's name must appear on an article made abroad. If he looks at the Section to which I referred he will find the conditions.
Mr Henry Strauss: Any firm may import radio valves originating in and consigned from Western Europe and certain other countries under the open general licence without further specific authority. For radio valves not covered by the open general licence, individual licences have been issued to 37 firms during the period 1st October, 1953, to 15th June, 1954.
Mr Henry Strauss: If the valves are not covered by the open general licence, licences will be issued if alternatives are not obtainable in the United Kingdom or other non-dollar sources, or if required for the export trade.
Mr Henry Strauss: Radio valves are not separately recorded, but 2,078,000 electronic valves were imported into the United Kingdom in the first quarter of this year, and 771,000 in the corresponding quarter last year.
Mr Henry Strauss: I agree that it is a big increase, but the hon. Member will recall that there is a key industry duty of 33â per cent. on these imports.
Mr Henry Strauss: I am not sure that this is a complete explanation, but it may be the very large increase in the demand for television sets.
Mr Henry Strauss: Early in 1952 about 800 workers were discharged by these factories on account of a decline in the demand for their products; and in 1953 Prices, Tailors, Limited, closed their clothing factory.
Mr Henry Strauss: We are seeking to increase employment for both men and women through the full use of all Government-financed factories in the area, and we have recently approved the building of a large new Government-financed factory on the Pallion Estate.
Mr Henry Strauss: It is difficult to see how more direct action could be taken than that referred to in the last part of my answer. Perhaps in considering these figures the hon. Member would also like to recall that the factories on the North-Eastern Trading Estate generally were employing, on the last available date, more than ever in their history.
Mr Henry Strauss: Yes, Sir. I am aware that further industrial employment would be welcomed in the area, and the Board of Trade will be prepared to consider the issue of industrial development certificates in appropriate cases.
Mr Henry Strauss: I think that in this case both the union concerned and the Stirling Town Council have accepted the decision as inevitable on economic grounds.
Mr Henry Strauss: The Board of Trade recognise the need of the Falkirk area for new industry and will continue to encourage suitable enterprises to establish themselves there.