Mr Henry Strauss: Since the import duties on the products of each of these industries cover so wide a range of goods, I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the customs tariff, flagged for easy reference to the relevant items.
Mr Henry Strauss: I had better confine myself to the Question which the hon. Member thought fit to put upon the Paper. I would remind him that import duties are not charged on industries but on particular products.
Mr Henry Strauss: Three, Sir, including a unified thread introduced recently by agreement between the United States, Canada and this country, are in common use here. Two of these are in use abroad. The British Standards Institution, with the full co-operation of industry, is actively engaged in international discussions designed to secure wider agreement on an international standard.
Mr Henry Strauss: As explained in the Board of Trade Journal of 2nd October, 1954, the statistics of factory building now record area instead of value figures. One hundred and five applications for new buildings or extensions between 5,000 and 20,000 square feet were granted in 1953, and 100 in 1954. No application was refused.
Mr Henry Strauss: Recent changes, which I think my hon. Friend has in mind, are not unimportant, but on the particular point which I think he has in mind, I should be glad if he would put down a further Question.
Mr Henry Strauss: Yes, Sir. To the ex-tent that the remedy lies within the sphere of Government action, we shall use all our efforts to secure equitable treatment for cotton piece goods in overseas markets.
Mr Henry Strauss: The right hon. Gentleman knows the complexity of this problem. The suggestion that the Government have done nothing about it is quite incorrect.
Mr Henry Strauss: I quite agree that the matter must be looked at from all aspects but, if the suggestion is that Her Majesty's Government do nothing, it is unjustified. We take these matters thoroughly into consideration in negotiating all inter-Government trade agreements. We put the entire resources of the Government's export services, including those of the Trade Commissioner and Commercial Diplomatic...
Mr Henry Strauss: If the right hon. Gentle-man thinks that we have no cotton exports, he is more ignorant of the position than anybody in this House had suspected.
Mr Henry Strauss: Imports of cotton cloth from India in the fourth quarter of 1954 were a little over three times the imports in the fourth quarter of 1953.
Mr Henry Strauss: I cannot greatly add to the last answers given by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on 3rd February and by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State on 8th February. I can only add that the Minister of State is in Lancashire today.
Mr Henry Strauss: The trade statistics do not show Scotch and Irish whisky separately. 13,691,000 proof gallons of whisky were exported in 1954.
Mr Henry Strauss: Yes. The corresponding figure in 1952 was 11,531,000 and, in 1953, 13,206,000. There has been a further increase.
Mr Henry Strauss: I quite understand that there would be distress in Scotland if the facts were as stated by the hon. Member.
Mr Henry Strauss: Under the Cinematograph Films Act, 1948, the Board of Trade determine the quotas after consulting the Cinematograph Films Council, which my right hon. Friend is satisfied takes all relevant considerations into account.
Mr Henry Strauss: The selling of studios has been dealt with in a previous answer to the hon. Member. I would refer him to Section 2 of the 1948 Act, where he will see that these matters are considered by the Cinematograph Films Council, which gives its view to the President of the Board of Trade. The President has acted on that view.
Mr Henry Strauss: My right hon. Friend will consider any recommendation which the Monopolies Commission may make in its report on certain restrictive practices; but he cannot anticipate the nature of future legislation.
Mr Henry Strauss: The Question asked when the Government would introduce legislation. It is quite clear that no responsible Government would introduce legislation in ignorance of what the Commission will report on the reference now before it dealing with these restrictive practices.
Mr Henry Strauss: A matter cannot be referred to the Monopolies Commission unless the Board of Trade is satisfied that the conditions set out in the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act, 1948, prevail. We have no evidence of the prevalence of these conditions in this case.
Mr Henry Strauss: If my hon. and gallant Friend will examine the Act he will find that certain conditions have to apply to one-third of all the goods concerned. There is no evidence that that is so in this case and, therefore, there is no statutory power of reference.