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Trade And Commerce

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 26 April 1949

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Whisky (Exports To Tangier)

39.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much whisky was exported from Great Britain to Tangier in 1948.

I regret that this information is not available as exports to Tangier are not separately distinguished in the trade returns.

Does the hon. Gentleman mean that despite the fact that Tangier is prepared to buy large quantities of whisky for dollars he has no idea of how much dollar currency we can earn in this way?

The point is that the returns for Tangier are included with those for Morocco. The figures as a whole are 3,609 proof gallons valued at £8,092. I have not separate figures for Tangier.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that whisky can be sold in Tangier for dollars, which so far as I know does not apply to Morocco? Would it not be worth while for this country to earn dollars in that way?

The Question I was asked was not concerned with the earning of dollars but with actual export figures, which I am unable to give for the reasons I have stated.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary look into the matter, with special reference to the dollar earning possibilities?

Patents (Swan Committee)

43.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many engineers or inventors served on the Swan Committee, upon whose report the Patents Bill was founded.

Five of the nine members of the Swan Committee were engineers or technologists. I have no information whether any of the members were inventors in the sense of making inventions for which patents were granted.

Overalls, Cheltenham

44.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that painters and decorators in the Cheltenham area are unable to obtain the overalls they need; and if he will take steps to increase the supply.

There is a general scarcity of these overalls due to difficulties in the supply of the cloth. All practicable steps are being taken to increase production of this cloth, but the needs of the export drive, especially to the dollar areas, must take precedence.

Cannot more regard be had for the needs of workers in this country, and a little more allowed to the home market, as this is causing great hardship and inconvenience?

I appreciate that, and we are doing what we can to try to alleviate the position.

Barrier, Norfolk Broads (Timber)

46.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that a barrier of timber and steel was erected across Black Horse Dyke, leading from the River Bure to Hoveton Little Broad, on the Norfolk Broads, between 16th February and 11th March, 1949, particulars of which have been sent to him; how much timber was used in this operation; what kind of timber was used; where it was obtained; and whether a licence was issued for the use of this timber for the purpose of the erection of this barrier.

No timber licence has been issued in connection with the operation referred to; but I am making inquiries and will write to my hon. Friend when they are completed.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that we in Norfolk would like to have an opportunity of dealing with the Broads ourselves without quite so much assistance from Lowestoft?

Imported Wool (Price)

47.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the average price of wool per pound imported into the country.

The average value of raw sheeps' and lambs' wool imported into the United Kingdom during the month of March, 1949, as calculated, from the Official Trade and Navigation Accounts for that month, was 38.3 pence per lb.

Then can the Parliamentary Secretary explain why, in view of the figure of 3s. 2d. per lb., the price of the raw material in a suit is between 40s. and 45s. per lb., which amounts to about £15? Can the Parliamentary Secretary explain the difference between those figures?

I would ask the hon. Gentleman to remember that the average price which I have given him covers wool in all kinds of conditions. It is not easy to deduce, from the price I have given him, any straight argument as to the price of wool in the finished suit.