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New Clause (Increase Of Imperial Preference On Sugar)

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1922

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The preferential rate of duty to be levied on sugar consigned from and grown, produced, or manufactured within the British Empire shall be two-thirds of the full rate instead of five-sixths of the full rate as provided for under section eight of The Finance Act, 1919 (which relates to imperial preferential rates).—[Mr. Rioland.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time.

The idea in our minds in proposing it is not that we should get the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-night to accept this proposal, but that we wish to bring before him the great need there will be in the years to come to take further action with regard to the preferential rate that is now allowed upon all goods grown within the Empire. We passed a few weeks ago in this House the Empire Settlement Bill, and under that our people will be encouraged to make homes overseas, and we feel that in encouraging these men to make their homes overseas it will be our duty here in the homeland to encourage them to this extent, that whatever they grow within the Dominions that we here at home will take these products with a larger preferential duty than we give now. Three years ago this House decided that on all Customs Duty that we levied on sugar, tea, tobacco and other products, that one-sixth of that duty shall be rebated to the products grown within the Empire. The idea in this Amendment is that that one-sixth shall be increased by a further amount so that it will bring it practically up to one-third of the whole duty that is levied as rebate on goods grown within the Empire. I do feel that this matter is one of very great importance. I will point out that the reason why America got populated so fast was that when a man went to the States he found that 90 millions of people gave a preference to the things that he grew under the "Stars and Stripes." People did not realise why people went to the States in such large numbers and to Norway, Denmark and other parts in Europe. It was because of the preferential rates given to those who settled there. I want in the development of our Empire that there shall be that same feeling, and when men go to other parts of the Empire and produce goods that we require, it shall be understood that we shall give them better terms than we give some goods from foreign producers. I have pleasure in moving this new Clause.

I do not gather that my hon. Friend really expects me to deal seriously with this Amendment at this hour.

All I can say to the Committee is that at the present time such a Clause is not capable of acceptance.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and negatived.