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Latch Needles (Import Licences)

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 11 May 1943

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24.

asked the President of the Board of Trade why import licences for latch needles for home consumption are issued only to firms who were importing latch needles during the last 12 months of peace?

Total imports of latch needles are considerably less than before the war, and I am satisfied that the fairest method is to issue licences to importers in proportion to their trade during the 12 months before the outbreak of war.

Is not the import of these articles considerably less now, because large numbers came from Germany, and at the present time a virtual monopoly is given to foreign subsidiaries of firms who were in Germany before the war? Should not British firms get their share?

The arrangements about which my hon. and gallant Friend is asking have been in operation since the beginning of the war, now more than three years. Our home production now is only about half our total requirements, and it is thought that the fairest way to make up what is required is to base it, as we do in other cases, upon the pre-war trade.

Does that mean that consumers who bought from British firms in the past are debarred from getting supplies?