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Trade And Commerce

Volume 462: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1949

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Monopolies Commission


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is yet in a position to indicate what industries are to be examined by the Monopolies Commission during 1949.


asked the President of the Board of Trade the six industries which have been referred to the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission.

My right hon. Friend hopes to give the House some information on this matter within a day or so.

Exports (Nationalised Industries)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of the value of United Kingdom exports in 1948 was contributed by the nationalised industries; and what percentage by private enterprise.

The contribution of the nationalised industries to United Kingdom exports is mainly an indirect one, which cannot be measured statistically. The coal industry, the only direct exporting industry which has been nationalised, accounted for 2½ per cent. of total United Kingdom exports in 1948, in addition to its indirect contribution.

Is it not clear that the success of the export campaign is, at any rate, due to private enterprise?

It is quite clear that without the contribution of the nationalised industries there would have been no production and, therefore, no exports at all.

Does the hon. Gentleman really believe that there was no production before electricity or gas or the railways were nationalised, and was it not a fact that production was just as great and rather cheaper?

I did not imply anything of the kind. The Question put to me asked what was the contribution of the nationalised industries, and that I have answered.

Is it not the case that the Reid Report made it clear that the mining industry was going bankrupt and would have been incapable of supporting the export trade?

Is it not a fact that the contribution of the coalmining industry to our exports before the war was higher in total volume and also higher as a percentage of our total exports?

Distribution Officers


asked the President of the Board of Trade if, in view of the fact that the movements and visits to retailers and other businesses of both distribution officers and Price Regulation Committee inspectors largely coincide and that the other work of Price Regulation Committees is falling off since the reduction of controls, he will arrange for the taking over by the Price Regulation Committee inspectors of the work now being undertaken by the 30 distribution officers.

No, Sir. Both sets of officers are fully occupied; their duties are quite distinct and could not be combined.

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that the regular monthly reports of the Price Regulation Committees include such matters as reports on shortages and other relevant data and that it is, in fact, a duplication of the work being done by the distribution officers, and will he look at this matter again?

Horses (Export)


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many horses were exported in 1948; to what countries; and at what prices.

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Has my hon. Friend any information about what happens to these horses when they reach the other side, and is he satisfied with the treatment they receive?

Following is the statement:

To Eire2,3012,191,822
To France1,031333, 624
To Union of South Africa148152,745
To Australia92135,449
To United States of America.15594,845
To Italy72967,511
To India3859,896
To Belgium1,15750,469
To Brazil1643,925
To Argentine Republic2943,527
To New Zealand4242,707
To Ceylon5541,435
To British Malaya6240,455
To Venezuela383,515
To British West Indies5229,292
To Canada1616,751
To Poland5013,792
To Turkey119,600
To Channel Islands766,304
To Panama115,200
To Pakistan405,060
To All other countries12733,187

Cloth (Tailors' Allocations)


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make available to tailors sufficient utility materials to enable them to make clothes for outsize people from materials that are free from Purchase Tax, without having to cut into the tailor's allocation for normal sizes.

The distribution of cloth to tailors and other clothing manufacturers is not controlled by the Board of Trade but is left to the normal machinery of the trade. We are aiming at an increase in the already large proportion of utility cloth production.

Rifle Clubs (Ammunition)


asked the Minister of Supply what steps he is taking to ease the difficulties of small bore rifle clubs in Britain in obtaining high grade ammunition.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given yesterday to the hon. Member for Southern Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke).

Would the hon. Gentleman be prepared to receive a deputation from the National Association of Rifle Clubs to explain the very serious position?

If the hon. Member would put that to us in writing we should consider that aspect of the matter.