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German Cereals (Imports)

Volume 244: debated on Tuesday 4 November 1930

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26.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that considerable quantities of German oatmeal, groats, and pearl barley are being imported into this country; and if he will inquire as to the extent to which the low price of these imports is due to the import bonds issued by the German Government to subsidise these agricultural products?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second part, while there can be little doubt that the import bond system may have allowed the products in question to be offered at lower prices than would otherwise have prevailed, it would, I am afraid, be impossible to isolate this single factor from others affecting prices in this country or to determine accurately its effect. The issue of these import bonds in respect of the products named by the hon. and gallant Member is being discontinued by the German Government as from to-morrow.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this has been a direct source of unemployment in British mills, particularly in Scotland?

That, again, is, of course, a debatable matter, but, in any event, I call attention to the fact that after to-morrow these bonds will disappear.

Has the right hon. Gentleman any information as to why the German Government are withdrawing these bonds?

No, Sir. That is hardly a sphere of debate into which I can be drawn on the present occasion.