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Trade And Commerce

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 15 March 1962

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Development Districts

2 and 3.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what consultations he has, and with whom, before taking an area from the list of areas receiving assistance under the Local Employment Act, 1960;

(2) how often reviews take place of the list of areas receiving assistance under the Local Employment Act, 1960.

The Board of Trade keeps the list of development districts continuously under review and consults the Ministry of Labour and other interested Departments before any changes are decided upon.

Is the Minister aware of the great dissatisfaction caused by the fact that a number of areas have been taken off the list? Is he aware that no reason at all seems to be given when an area is removed from the list? The right hon. Gentleman talks about jobs in prospect as the reason for areas being descheduled. Should not the only criteria be jobs in actual fact before such a decision is taken? Can we be assured that the right hon. Gentleman has not been dictated to by the Treasury in removing these places from the list?

I am not sure whether the hon. Member has in mind the stop list or the actual descheduling. We deschedule areas when we are satisfied that enough has been done or will be done for a locality to make it unnecessary for it still to remain a development district.


asked the President of the Board of Trade what financial assistance is given to firms wishing to set up industries within reach of development districts; and whether he is satisfied with the volume of such assistance.

Under the Local Employment Act, localities to which workers living in a development district can conveniently travel to work are themselves deemed to be development districts. Firms setting up in these localities can therefore obtain financial assistance to the extent to which their projects are likely to benefit a development district. The answer to the second part of the Question is "Yes, Sir".

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider extending the areas of the development districts; that is to say, instead of using the present method, will he consider, for instance, regarding the whole of the south-east of Northumberland as a development district so that there is some inducement and greater attraction to industrialists who are moving in, who would certainly have greater scope in which to look at the relocation of new industries?

I appreciate the principles which underlie the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. But I feel that that would be to go back to the concept prior to the passage of the 1960 Act, which was fully debated in the House, when the House agreed that we should move to the idea of development districts and concentrate on areas where unemployment was highest.

While I appreciate that reply, the fact still remains that the method he is defending—we are not really complaining about it, but rather asking him to look at an alternative—is not providing the goods in the way we wanted? Some further examination is obviously needed. Will he make it?

There are special difficulties in the area in which the hon. Gentleman is interested, but over the country as a whole the new arrangements are working well. The reason I say this is because we want to get the factories as near as possible to where the unemployment exists.

Monopolies And Restrictive Practices


asked the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to complete his review of policy relating to monopolies and restrictive practices; and if he will make a statement.

As I told the House on 14th February, I doubt whether the review of this complex subject will be completed before the end of the year.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will introduce legislation to empower the courts to order business companies to divest themselves of such part or parts of their commercial activities as may be necessary to bring them within the limits permitted under existing provisions of laws relating to monopolies.

No limits are set by existing legislation in this country to the size of the activities of business companies. The subject raised in my hon. Friend's question is being covered by the comprehensive review of monopolies and restrictive practices legislation now being undertaken by the Board of Trade.

Does not my right hon. Friend appreciate that he himself has just admitted that he has no power, even dif it were desired, to carry out the recommendations of the Commission? If he will not introduce legislation to deal with the matter, will not the Government find time—or will he ask his right hon. Friend to provide time—for the Bill in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Sir J. Pitman), myself and others?

I have noted the suggestion about the Bill which my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Sir J. Pitman) asked leave to introduce.


asked the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he now has to make the control of monopolies more effective.

I would ask my hon. Friend to wait until the review of the policy and legislation on monopolies and restrictive practices by my officials has been completed.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that what he calls his powers of persuasion are peculiarly ineffective and that we need something in the meantime?

I do not think my hon. Friend would thank me for introducing bad or unsatisfactory legislation in a hurry to avoid the taunts of the Opposition who say that they are having to wait too long.

Has the right hon. Gentleman read the Report of Mr. Sich, the Registrar of Restrictive Trading Agreements, which was published in January? Has he noted that of the 25 industries which he has investigated 18 are running practices contrary to the consumer, but that in only one case have the Government taken any action at all. Why are they so disinclined to take action?

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that some of us on this side of the House told our electors at the last General Election that we were very strongly opposed to both public and private monopolies, and that we are getting a little concerned—[HON. MEMBERS: "Orpington."]—at the apparent lack of enthusiasm in opposing monopolies shown by my right hon. Friend's Department?

It is not a case of enthusiasm or the lack of it. I deplore a witch-hunt into monopoly, as such, equally as much as I would deplore a situation in which my Department was not going into this whole question. I am sure that the right way is to review the whole matter thoroughly and then decide what should be done, if necessary.

If the President of the Board of Trade will not heed the taunts of the Opposition, will he heed the taunts of the electorate?

I am aware that there is a certain amount of concern about monopoly properly expressed in this House and reflected also among the electorate.

Advance Factory, Shotts


asked the President of the Board of Trade when work will begin on the erection of the advance factory at Shotts.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is over a year since the announcement was made that an advance factory was to be built in Shotts? Is he aware that since that time a private firm, without any aid from the Board of Trade, found a site there and erected a small factory, where girls have been working for months, while the Board of Trade could find no site? Is it that the trustees of the Robert Sneddon Estate are holding back the acquiring of a site? What compulsory purchase measures can the right hon. Gentleman take to bring work to an area which only this year had its eleventh pit closed?

One of the difficulties of building advance factories is to know in advance what is the most suitable size. The factory to which the hon. Lady refers is very small, and I do not think it would please her or her constituents if we put up a small one. I regret the delay as much as anybody does. The hon. Lady knows the difficulty. The people to whom she has referred are the people who caused the difficulties, but I do not think that it would be right to use compulsory powers to acquire land for a factory which will not necessarily be occupied immediately.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me of any advance factory built which has not been occupied? When a Government-owned factory became vacant in Shotts there were a number of people who wished to have it. Surely the right hon. Gentleman knows that there would be no delay in having such a factory occupied. Is he not aware of the great need for it?

It is not necessarily so. An advance factory at Jarrow still remains unoccupied.

Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that he is not prepared to use compulsory powers in respect of any advance factory? If so, this would be a policy quite different from that followed up to now.



asked the President of the Board of Trade how many firms exported their goods for the first time in 1961; and what was the value of their contribution.

My right hon. Friend devotes an enormous amount of time and energy to exports. Would not something like this be very valuable? Will he consult the chambers of commerce and chambers of trade, and possibly write again to the 30,000 firms he circularised in his previous campaign?

I have thought a good deal about this matter, and I doubt whether the effort involved in collecting this information would yield information of sufficient value to help the export drive. The circular letter campaign has been successful. We are engaged now in the second round. No less than 9,000 firms replied to our circulars in the first round, and 6,000 asked for information about Government services, although some were already exporters.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that answer is yet one more piece of evidence that his Department treats potential exporting companies in a very casual way? Is he further aware that he gave me almost the same answer a few months ago in connection with a small firm which might be brought into the export drive? Surely the export figures published last night should not leave him with any sense of satisfaction?

I am certainly not complacent about the export drive, but I doubt whether this particular type of information, which would be laborious to collect, would be of any practical value. By circularising firms we reach all those interested or likely to be interested in exporting. I believe that to be the best way.

East Germany


asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the results of the consultations he has had with the Federation of British Industries concerning quotas governing trade with East Germany in 1962.

The results are reflected in the unofficial trade arrangements for 1962 recently concluded by the Federation of British Industries with the East German Chamber of Foreign Trade. This provides for United Kingdom exports to East Germany of £8·4 million and for United Kingdom imports of £9·1 million, both totals being the same as in the 1961 trade arrangement.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with these figures, in view of the fact that West Germany's trade with East Germany totals about £88 million a year compared with our figure of £8 million? In view of the drive West Germany is making to get East German trade, should not we be doing something to match her aggressive selling?

Our exporters are doing what they can, but we must remember that the East Germans are not prepared to grant us bigger quotas than the figures I have indicated.

How much of the amount mentioned covers commission at ¼ per cent.? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any quota of political contact men engaged in this trade?

European Economic Community


asked the President of the Board of Trade what effect the United Kingdom's entry into the Corn-man Market will have on the trade relations of the United Kingdom with other countries who are signatories to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

But that was not a satisfactory Answer. That is why I tabled the Question again. What will the Government do, under their undertaking, as a signatory of G.A.T.T., that all the other signatories should be treated equally? What consideration has been given to these undertakings in our discussions with the Common Market countries?

I have glanced again quickly at my Answer of 1st March, and I think that it was a very good one. But I will do my best to give further details in writing, if possible by letter to the hon. Gentleman.

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that there might be some complication in view of the fact that Czechoslovakia is a member of G.A.T.T.?


asked the President of the Board of Trade what detailed examination has been made, or reports and information received, concerning the probable effect on light industries, in particular those producing umbrellas and vacuum flasks, of the United Kingdom's entry into the Common Market.

My Department is in regular contact with British industry including the industries mentioned by the hon. Member. Representatives of the British umbrella industry have welcomed the prospect of entry into the Common Market; I have received no suggestion that entry would cause difficulties for the British vacuum flask makers. But the effects of accession to the European Economic Community would vary not only between industries but from firm to firm within an industry.

May I take it that a careful examination has been made of this category of light industries and that the employers and firms in those industries are fully acquainted with the information the right hon. Gentleman has gathered?

As regards the first part of the supplementary question, generally speaking the answer is "Yes", but as regards each light industry I would not like to answer in detail a specific question; but the Answer I have given in respect of the umbrella makers, I think, shows how far we have gone into finding the opinions of individual light industries.

Imperial Tobacco Company (Gallahers)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in order to comply with the recommendation of the Monopolies Commission, he will instruct the Imperial Tobacco Company Limited to distribute its shareholding of Gallahers Limited amongst its ordinary shareholders.

In fact, even if my right hon. Friend bad proved willing, has he the power so to do? If not, can he see that Government time is found for the Bill brought forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Sir J. Pitman)?

What my right hon. Friend says is quite correct. I do not possess the statutory power to implement the recommendation in the way suggested by the Monopolies Commission. But there are many ways of acting in addition to the use of statutory power. One such way is by persuasion, and I think that a company of this standing might well have accepted the Government's wishes in this matter had I wished to ask it to divest itself of shareholdings.

Why should the Government generally be frightened of tobacco companies? Why does the right hon. Gentleman not summon up sufficient courage to ask them to do the right thing? Will not he take a lesson from the United States, where the anti-monopoly legislation is very much more effective?

I bad all the courage required, and I used it. I asked the firm to give an undertaking, and it has given it. That is what I wanted.

Imperial Chemical Industries And Courtaulds


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will now refer the production of man-made fibres to the Monopolies Commission.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the large shareholding in Courtaulds Limited being acquired by Imperial Chemical Industries Limited, he will refer the man-made fibres industry for examination by the Monopolies Commission.

On the information at present available to me, I do not propose to refer man-made fibres to the Monopolies Commission.

In view of the fact that Courtaulds already holds 83 per cent. of the capacity in this industry and has just, by the skin of its teeth, escaped being absorbed, does not my right hon. Friend think that there is a prima facie case for such a reference in case another take-over bid occurs?

No. One has to have regard to the reasons for making references to the Monopolies Commission. We have not received any suggestions so far that the monopoly conditions are being abused.

If my right hon. Friend will not refer the industry to the Monopolies Commission, will he at least secure from the board of I.C.I. an undertaking, similar to that which he got from the board of the Imperial Tobacco Company, in respect of its holding in Courtalds? Does he not agree that the relationship of I.C.I. to Courtaulds will be very similar to that between the Imperial Tobacco Company and Gallahers?

The relationship will be rather different. In any case, I will not answer that supplementary question, because I.C.I.'s shareholders are to be addressed by their chairman tomorrow.

As the I.C.I. holding in Courtaulds is exactly the same as that of the Imperial Tobacco Company in Gallahers, why not ask I.C.I. for similar assurances?

I do not see that the evidence produced so far by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite and by my right hon. and hon. Friends shows any reason for me to go rushing around asking for these assurances.

Besides his limited statutory duties and powers, surely my right hon. Friend also has responsibility for what I might call the general health and competitiveness of British industry?

Certainly, and I shall, therefore, follow the proceedings of tomorrow's shareholders' meeting with the greatest interest.

My right hon. Friend is doing his job and Mr. Paul Chambers is doing his. Why does my right hon. Friend try to hand his job over to Mr Chambers?


asked the President of the Board of Trade in view of the new circumstances created by Courtaulds' promises in response to the take-over bid of 65 per cent. increase in distributed profits this year and a 105 per cent. increase in such dividends next year, which conflicts with Her Majesty's Government's policy for continued restraint in profits and dividends, as set out in the White Paper on Incomes Policy: The Next Step, why he is not prepared to reconsider his decision not to order a public inquiry into the proposed merger of Imperial Chemical Industries and Courtaulds.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has studied the new promises made in response to the threat of a take-over bid by Courtaulds for increased dividend payments in the next two years; and, in view of the fact that these new proposals are contrary to the policy of Her Majesty's Government on profits and dividends, as set out in the White Paper entitled Incomes Policy. The Next Step, if he will reconsider his decision not to hold a public inquiry into the proposed merger of Imperial Chemical Industries and Courtaulds.

The proposals announced by Courtaulds do not, in my view, constitute any grounds for changing the Government's decision, the reasons for which I explained to the House on 14th February.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at a meeting held today in another part of this city the Chancellor's White Paper on Incomes Policy was torn to shreds and thrown into the wastepaper basket? Is there not something grossly indecent in the Government doing down the railway workers and the university teachers to a miserable 3 per cent. increase after two years' waiting, while doing nothing about these fantastic and flaunted increases in distributed profits?

I refer the hon. Gentleman to what my right hon. and learned Friend said about profits and dividends. He made it clear that there was no intention of limiting the profits of individual industries or dividends paid by them, but that, as part of the long-term incomes policy, appropriate corrective action would be taken if aggregate profits showed signs of increasing excessively compared with wages and salaries.

Is it not the case that Courtaulds, in order to survive, has had to make the most lavish promises of dividend increases not only for this year but for next year? Is not this an open defiance of the Government's policy of income restraint? Does the right hon. Gentleman expect to plan the economy by holding wages down while allowing private industry to snap its fingers in the face of the Government? What is he going to do about it?

I remind the hon. Lady that the profits of many firms and industries are falling—and dividends with them.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Courtaulds would not have made these promises if he had done his duty and had stopped I.C.I. from making this bid? Is he aware that ordinary workers feel that it is grossly unfair to put restrictions on them and then, because of his inactivity, force the directors of Courtaulds to promise dividends that they did not wish to pay? Will he do something about this?

I think that I made the position of the Government clear during the debate on this issue.

Is the increase in dividends now to be given by Courtaulds in line with Government policy? If it conflicts with Government policy, what will the right hon. Gentleman do about it?


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will exercise his powers under Section 165 of the Companies Act, 1948, to protect minority interests of shareholders of Courtaulds affected by the offer made by Imperial Chemical Industries.

That is fortunate for the country, but not due to my right hon. Friend's inaction. Is he aware that his inaction is giving the impression that he is putting private gain in front of the public interest—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—and since he asked the tobacco people not to use their 37 per cent. minority vote to impede the action of the directors running the tobacco company, why cannot he ask I.C.I. to give the same guarantee to Courtaulds?

But we have not had an answer to it, Mr. Speaker. I regard it as of great importance in the national interest.

It is not in order to go on asking the same question because one does not get an answer. It is out of order. The early part of this is a different matter.

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter at the earliest moment on the Motion for the Adjournment because of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply.



asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that many hire-purchase agreements are framed in such a way as to deceive the purchasers of goods concerning the hire-purchase charges, in addition to persuading people to buy things they cannot afford; and if he will take steps to make it compulsory for every such agreement to contain, in clear figures, both the price of the article and the added amount of purchase charges.

When I receive the Report of the Molony Committee on consumer protection, I will consider whether some reinforcement of the present statutory protection for hire-purchase customers is necessary.

Is the Minister aware that these documents are printed in such legal terms that the ordinary purchaser cannot understand them and that it is easy for a glib canvasser to explain them to prospective purchasers and get them to buy goods they cannot afford? Is he also aware that in a case which has been brought to my attention a man purchased an article for £30 and had to pay an additional £15 by way of charges? Will he look into this case and see what he can do to stop it?

I should be very glad to study the case to which the hon. Gentleman refers if he would care to forward the details to me. The Molony Committee is or has been studying these very matters.

If the right hon. Gentleman spends too long waiting for Molony he will find that the hire-purchase companies and the people who buy their goods broke? Is it not time to hurry up Molony?

The Molony Committee is working hard and well. I do not think it should be hurried up, because I want the Report to be a good one when we get it. I do not think the finance companies or the people who use them are in any danger of going broke.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the recent court decisions on hire-purchase contracts, disagreements among members of the Finance Houses Association on car dealers' commissions, and growing public criticism of some hire purchase practices, he will inquire into these matters to see what changes are now needed in the Hire-Purchase Acts in the public interest.

I am considering the implications of these decisions and will take them into account when I receive the Report of the Molony Committee on Consumer Protection.

But in this case is not the President of the Board of Trade rather misunderstanding the functions of the Committee? Is it not a fact that the hire-purchase question was not specifically in its terms of reference? Is it not a fact that if we are going to have an inquiry into these very technical hire-purchase problems we do not necessarily want to appoint the people who are on the Molony Committee? If the Committee does not produce a satisfactory report on hire-purchase, will not the right hon. Gentleman have to start all over again? Instead of waiting, why should he not do the job now?

Because I want to see what the Molony Committee has to say. Then I can decide what further action, if any, is required. It would be very irresponsible if I were to embark upon piecemeal legislation or other forms of action which, on the publication of the Molony Committee Report, were proved to be either wrong or misplaced.

This is not a question of asking for piecemeal legislation. It is generally agreed throughout the country that the Hire-Purchase Acts, which were pre-war legislation, are now out of date, and no longer fit the circumstances of today, and that legislation will have to be introduced, anyhow. It is surely missing the point to refer to amending legislation on hire-purchase as piecemeal legislation.

If hire-purchase legislation has to be introduced it is surely appropriate that it should be good legislation.



asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will reconsider the duty that is payable on imported modern tapestries, in view of the discrimination the present duty involves against this form of art.

I am always prepared to consider applications from representative domestic interests for changes in the import duty on particular goods.

Cotton Industry


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider further action by Her Majesty's Government to ensure that conditions are created under which the re-equipment of the cotton industry under the reorganisation scheme could be carried through to a successful conclusion.

It is still too early to assess the full extent of re-equipment but, as I informed my hon. Friend on 20th February, the limitations on imports of cloth from low-cost sources should encourage firms to take advantage of the financial help available under the Cotton Industry Act, 1959.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that his powers contained in the anti-dumping duties are sufficient to prevent very low cost textiles coming into this country?


asked the President of the Board of Trade what estimates he has made of future effects on the spinning and weaving sections of the cotton textile industry of entry into the Common Market.

It is not possible at this stage to assess the effect on the cotton textile industry of entry into the Common Market. There is no doubt, however, that British entry into the Common Market would give the Lancashire industry opportunities for increasing exports to Europe.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware—I do not suppose for a moment that he is—that in Oldham, which was known before the Tories started passing amending Acts as the most prosperous cotton spinning town in the world, there is complete uncertainty about the situation, and that this uncertainty is having a devastating effect on the industry? It was no good him saying five minutes ago to the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Sir J. Barlow) that he hopes that this will give confidence, that this will give security, and that this will establish prospects, when nobody knows what is going to happen about imports of Commonwealth cloth, or about competition, or about the effect on wages, or about production.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will introduce legislation to provide that some of the unexpended allocated expenditure for the Cotton Industry Reorganisation Act is made available as compensation for workers who were made redundant without qualifying for compensation.

I presume that by "allocated expenditure" the hon. Member has in mind the figure of £30 million but, as my predecessors and I have repeatedly explained, this is simply the best estimate which could be made of likely total Government expenditure under the Cotton Industry Act, 1959. It is not an allocated or voted sum and the question of using an unexpended balance for other purposes does not arise.

If there is one thing that is certain in this world it is that the Prime Minister used the figure of £40 million. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Prime Minister spoke of £40 million during the last election? In view of the necessity for election sweeteners at the moment, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that he has £20 million of that £40 million unexpended, and that a lot of workers in the industry think that they were victims of something approaching a shocking swindle?

My hon. Friend suggests that this might be used for the next Parliamentary election, but it may be that that will be too late.

Is not the right hon Gentleman aware that under the Cotton Industry Act, 1959, the Government put forward in support of that legislation that it would be used for re-equipping the industry with new machinery and wiping out all the inefficient units of production which were an encumbrance to the industry? Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House how much of the £30 million has been applied to the process of re-equipment? Will he now admit that the Cotton Industry Act. 1959, was nothing more than an elaborate piece of shop window dressing involving the use of £30 million of taxpayers' money as a bribe to Lancashire which was going through a bad time?

The hon. Gentleman did not vote against the Bill when it was passing through the House, nor did I notice that he was particularly against the proposal in his constituency at the time of the election. As regards re-equipment, we never said that the Government would be responsible for it. We said that we would make re-equipment grants available. So far £1·6 million has been spent on re-equipment, but this is far from being the final figure because applications can still come in. After applications have been made, there is a further periol for the spending of the money.

Textile Machinery


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the present reduced home trade orders for textile machinery are likely to affect adversely export prospects of the United Kingdom textile machinery industry; and what action he proposes to take to improve the situation.

I appreciate that the textile machinery industry, in planning their future production, may be concerned to know the likely demands for re-equipment at home. I hope that recent developments regarding imports of cotton textiles will create the necessary confidence to encourage the early placing of orders and so avoid any likelihood of uncertainty adversely affecting textile machinery exports.

Eggs And Egg Purchase


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the continued dumping into this country of eggs and egg products from Poland, China and other countries; what applications he has received for anti-dumping measures to protect British egg-producers; and if he will make a statement.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if the Egg Marketing Board has made an official application for an anti-dumping duty on Polish eggs coming into this country; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing at present to add to the reply given on 5th March to a similar Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Knutsford (Sir W. Bromley-Davenport).

Is it not a stupid policy for the President of the Board of Trade to allow the continuous dumping of eggs in this country to the detriment of home producers? Is he not aware that this policy is crippling many small home egg producers? Also, why did not the right hon. Gentleman agree to meet representatives of the egg producers who wished to discuss this matter with him? Finally, will he give an assurance that in future he will not allow eggs—or any other produce—to be dumped in this country when plenty are being produced by our home producers?

As regards dumping, it would be a stupid policy if that was the one being followed, but there is no question of eggs being dumped all the year round, as suggested by the hon. Gentleman. As regards the request of the chairman of the Egg Marketing Board to see me, I thought that as the information had already been made available to my Department and applications had been made for anti-dumping duties to be considered, it was best for those matters to be looked at rather than that they should be repeated to me while the applications were under consideration. As regards the policy of importing foodstuffs, that is a very wide question which I would rather see on the Order Paper.

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that every day's delay is making matters worse? Is not he aware that eggs are being dumped in this country, contrary to what he says? Would not he agree that what is wanted is action before these countries unload their spring flush on to this country, rather than after they have done so?

It is not just a question of dumping, but also of material injury and of national interest. As regards frozen eggs, the application has already gone in in respect of eggs which have not arrived in this country, because the application relates to the egg year beginning 1st April, 1962. As regards foreign eggs at present coming into this country, total imports in January of this year were only a little over half for January of last year, and imports from Poland were less than one-sixth of what they were in January last year.

Is not this a case in which my right hon. Friend's hand ought to be strengthened by further legislation so that he can act more quickly than he can under the present law?

The law gives me the power to act quickly, provided I get information quickly. Some of the delays arise through the inability of the applicants, for one reason or another, to supply the information quickly, but I am answering this Question in general terms, and I do not want to be taken as implying criticism this year in respect of eggs.

Advance Factory, Milford Haven


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will authorise the building of an advance factory at Milford Haven.

No, Sir. The prospects in this area have improved and I would not be justified in building another advance factory here at present.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the long-term prospects for this town have not improved, that the unemployment rate is about five times the national average, and that my constituents are tired of promises and no action? In these circumstances, can the right hon. Gentleman say why there is an objection to building an advance factory such as that in Pembrokeshire which is beginning to show prospects of a return on national investment?

The reason is because we think that the prospects in the area have improved. Although the percentage of unemployment is high, the total numbers are not large. It would in any case be difficult to establish the right size of advance factory, and if an advance factory of the wrong size were built it might deter somebody from coming, though the full facilities of the Local Employment Act remain available as an inducement to any employer considering the area.

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that there are other areas in which the spare labour capacity would be welcomed? Is not the easier solution for some of these people who are short of employment in one area to move to places where they are needed?

They are free to move if they wish, but the purpose of the Act, and the way I administer it, is to bring work to people who are unemployed.

Consumer Protection


asked the President of the Board of Trade if the terms of reference of the Molony Committee on Consumer Protection enable it to consider and make recommendations concerning the examination by his Department of goods declared to be seriously defective by reputable consumers' organisations and the steps necessary to compel manufacturers either to rectify the defect or to compensate the purchasers when examination verifies the complaint.

Does the Minister's reply mean that the terms of reference of the Molony Committee allow for the possibility of a recommendation precisely on the lines of the proposals embodied in my Question?

The Committee announced at the outset that it intended to consider, among other things, whether or not there should be

"simpler means and/or more extensive rights for the aggrieved consumer seeking redress."

Advance Factory, Kilwinning


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give favourable consideration to the building of an advance factory at the Kilwinning Industrial Estate.

No, Sir. I do not think I would be justified in building an advance factory here at present.

The right hon. Gentleman knows of the outstanding success achieved by Irvine Town Council in attracting industry to its industrial estate—which is only three miles from Kilwinning—in my opinion largely because it had buildings available for industry to come right into the estate. In the light of representations that I have received, is the Minister prepared to meet a deputation of members of Ayr County Council, Kilwinning Town Council, the Irvine District Council and the local trades council in order that they can place their views before him?

Either my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary or I will be very glad to receive a deputation at any time, but in view of the comparatively favourable projects which are under way in the area I cannot hold out any hope of special treatment for Kilwinning.

In view of the suggested closure of almost 50 pits in Scotland in the near future, will the Minister consider the whole structure of Scotland's economy in order to see what can be done, from a planning point of view, before the pits are actually closed?

I have been fully informed about the pit closures. The important thing is to try to get factories as near to the closures as possible in order to avert the unemployment which might otherwise arise.



asked the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has had from the National Farmers' Union for increased duties on imported potatoes for the period from July, 1962.

The National Farmers' Union applied in October, 1960, for increases in the duty on new potatoes imported in the first half of May and in July. After full consideration, the Government decided that increases would not be justified and this application was accordingly rejected on 9th February last.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that with our present support system one of the best ways of keeping down the cost of agricultural subsidies is not to allow too high an importation of goods at a time when home production is already very high?

British Exhibition, Stockholm


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many firms from Great Britain are going to exhibit their products at the British Exhibition at Stockholm in May; and how many of these firms are from Scotland.

The British Exhibition in Stockholm is not organised by the Board of Trade but by British Overseas Fairs Limited. I am informed by it that there will be about 520 exhibitors, of whom 16 give their address as in Scotland.

Is it not very disappointing that there should be only 16 out of 520 exhibitors, especially in view of the high rate of unemployment in Scotland? Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that Scottish firms were sufficiently informed that this exhibition was taking place? Is he aware that the Scottish Council for the Development of Industry has stated that it was not asked on any occasion to use its offices to bring this exhibition to the notice of Scottish firms?

If Scottish firms had exhibited in the same proportion as English firms there would have been about 50 exhibitors. As for the use of the facilities offered by the bodies mentioned in my hon. Friend's supplementary question, the responsibility for organising this fair lies with British Overseas Fairs Limited.

In view of this remarkable lack of enterprise by private enterprise in Scotland, will the Minister consult his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland? If this sector of industry fails to provide employment for Scottish people the responsibility will have to be accepted to an increasing extent by public enterprise and the Government.

Educational Books And Films


asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to ensure the temporary free exchange, exempt from all customs and similar duties, of books, periodicals, papers, works of art, and documentary or cultural films, for educational and noncommercial purposes, in accordance with the Agreement on the importation of educational, scientific, and cultural materials signed by Her Majesty's Government in New York in November, 1950.


asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken to facilitate the temporary free exchange between other countries and Great Britain of films for educational and non-commercial purposes.

Under various statutory provisions, all articles covered by this Agreement may be imported free of Customs duty.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Customs officers are intepreting this rather unilaterally and applying it only to films produced under the auspices of U.N.E.S.C.O.? Is he aware that a number of useful films which are educational and non-commercial are made in various countries, and will he see that the Custom exemption applies over all?

It would help if the hon. Gentleman would give me details of any specific cases.

Is the President of the Board of Trade aware that this is extremely cumbersome and very expensive for organisations trying to bring educational matter into this country, and will he look at it again?

The provisions are perhaps complicated in themselves and call for a good deal of detail. But I will look at the point.

United States (Tariffs)


asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent the United Kingdom would benefit from tariff reductions made by the United States of America, as part of an agreement with the European Economic Community for reciprocal reductions, as a result of the application of the relevant most-favoured-nation clauses.

Reductions in the United States Tariff to be made as a result of the agreement with the European Economic Community which was announced last week will apply also to imports from the United Kingdom and will affect goods of which our exports to the U.S.A. in 1959 amounted to over £100 million.

Is it perfectly clear, since there has been some doubt about it, that these American reductions in tariffs on European goods will be extended to British goods? Does this also apply to reductions in tariffs which the European countries are to make vis-à-vis United States?

The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes", although the full details are not yet available. I should like to look at the second part rather more carefully before answering.

Motor Vehicles (Electrical Equipment)


asked the President of the Board of Trade how long the Monopolies Commission has had under consideration the reference relating to the supply of electrical equipment for mechanically propelled land vehicles; why it has taken many months to deal with this particular reference; and when their Report can be expected.

This reference was made on 18th April, 1957. I understand that the Commission hope to make their report before the end of the year, and that the reason for the length of the inquiry has been the technical complexity of the subject.

In view of the fact that the terms of reference were decided in 1957, does not the Minister think that a considerable length of time to have been taken, much longer than should have been the case? Is not the answer to increase the staff of the Monopolies Commission to deal with the matter?

It is a very complicated investigation covering eight classes of goods and no less than four monopoly suppliers. The Commission says that it does not need additional staff.

Rothes Colliery (Closure)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the immediate prospects of further industrial development in Glenrothes, Fife; and whether such development will be sufficient to employ all those who will be redundant on the closure of the neighbouring Rothes colliery.

I understand that of about 800 men employed at the Rothes colliery, the National Coal Board will be able to offer work immediately to some 300 in Rothes or nearby, and to about a further 350–400 in the Scottish coalfields within the period of redundancy-payments. The miners affected live in the areas covered by the Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline Groups of Employment Exchange Areas, where there are now in total some 1,500 jobs in prospect from new building and other developments. Of these, about 600 are for men.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware, now that this colliery is to be murdered, that the chairman of the National Coal Board has said that 150 of these miners will not be able to get a job in coal mining anywhere in Scotland but will have to move to England, and that those who do get reemployment in Scotland will be employed at a greater distance from their homes and at less wages? Will the right hon. Gentleman and the Secretary of State for Scotland be much more energetic in bringing industry to this area? If private enterprise will not do so why will not the State provide industry for these men?

The nationalised industry does not seem to be very successful in Glenrothes. Regarding the effort to bring industry to the area, I am proud of our record and I hope to improve on it.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Prime Minister and the Government to see whether £6 million could be invested in further exploiting the deep coal in Rothes in view of the grossly extravagant expenditure of the Government on less worth-while things?

Questions about the colliery should be referred to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power.

Surely the concern of the Minister must be about the effect of the closure of this pit which, after all, was Scotland's most modern and most expensive pit and which was planned by private enterprise? Will the President of the Board of Trade drop his perfunctory and complacent attitude to something which has made aghast the whole of Scotland? Is he aware that we are very concerned about the position and that this just will not do—this reference to jobs in the pipeline?

The references I make are real references and have great effect on policy. Therefore it is no use hon. Gentlemen just sneering at the figures I am giving. They are translated into facts in due course.

Bishop Auckland


asked the President of the Board of Trade how much his Department has now spent in the Bishop Auckland constituency as a result of the passing of the Local Employment Act; and how many new jobs have been created thereby.

I can give the information only for the Bishop Auckland development district, which goes rather wider than the constituency. The Board have offered assistance to the value of about £525,000 to provide about 900 jobs for the district.

When the right hon. Gentleman answered Question No. 13 today he said that his aim was to bring work to the unemployed. Why does not he translate that principle into practice in West Durham? He told my hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Ainsley) that his constituents could find jobs in my constituency and on the same day in answer to a similar Question by myself the right hon. Gentleman said that my constituents could find jobs in Newton Aycliffe. Why does not he build advance factories at Crook, Willington and Bishop Auckland?

I think it a very good thing that there should be a reasonable movement of labour between regions and districts, and this we take into account in formulating our development plans.

Radcliffe Committee (Report)


asked the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that disciplinary action has been taken against the superiors of George Blake during his employment in Berlin.


asked the Prime Minister when he expects that the report of the Radcliffe Committee on Security will be published.

With permission, I will answer this Question and Question No. Q3 together.

Perhaps the hon. Gentlemen will be content to await a statement about the Radcliffe Report which I hope to make in the near future.

Can the Prime Minister tell the House whether, when the Radcliffe Report is received by him, he intends to reveal the responsibility for this unfortunate state of affairs, or whether there will merely be a statement that many security factors are involved which cannot be revealed to the House?

I would rather not anticipate the statement. This is quite a complicated problem. In accordance with my undertaking, I have already been in touch with the Leader of the Opposition and some of his hon. Friends, and I hope to be able to make a statement very shortly.

Dr Banda (United Kingdom Visit)


asked the Prime Minister if he will invite Dr. Kamuzu Banda to London for discussions on the situation in Nyasaland in relation to the Federation, in view of the Federal Government's renewed threat to use force to keep Nyasaland in the Federation and the danger that a federal general election will increase tension.

I understand that a visit by Dr. Banda to London has been in prospect for some time, although no date has been arranged yet. It will be useful to take an opportunity of discussion with him at a mutually convenient moment.

In view of the fact that the Prime Minister had talks with Sir Roy Welensky, who represents less than 100,000 people in Rhodesia, and who has now been repudiated in his electioneering by Sir Edgar Whitehead and a large section of the United Federal Party, would it not be most valuable to have really friendly discussions with Dr. Banda, who represents over 3 million people in Nyasaland, with a view to avoiding dangerous unrest in the Federation as it comes to its end?

That is why I said that the visit was in prospect—although no date has actually been arranged.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is grave danger of too low a volume of investment being available for the Federation until after the Federal review? Therefore, is it not urgent and essential that the Federal review should be brought forward and conducted as soon as possible?

That and other questions will be taken into consideration in dealing with this problem.

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that in the event of the ties between Nyasaland and the Federation being broken the cost of supporting the economy of Nyasaland will not be thrown back upon the United Kingdom?

I do not want to answer what is a purely hypothetical question at this stage.

Can the Prime Minister clarify his original answer a little? Does he mean that Her Majesty's Government propose shortly to invite Dr. Banda to come to this country, or has Dr. Banda himself suggested that he should come? If so, when is the visit likely to take place?

Eighteen-Power Disarmament Conference


asked the Prime Minister, in view of the recent statement of policy by the Soviet Government, whether he will consult President Kennedy with a view to making joint proposals at the Geneva Conference for the prevention of the further spreading of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear countries, and for the banning of the use of nuclear weapons as part of a general disarmament treaty.

The proposals which President Kennedy, with the full support of the British Government, put to the United Nations in September, 1961, and which we hope will now be seriously discussed at the Eighteen-Power Disarmament Conference, contain a specific provision to prevent the emergence of any further independent nuclear Powers, and are generally designed to rule out the use of force on a national basis to settle international disputes. Under this plan all States would ultimately retain only those forces, non-nuclear armaments and establishments required to maintain internal order. Consultation between our two Governments on these matters as well as on all other aspects of disarmament is continuous.

Could not both these proposals be considered as constituting initial measures of disarmament to be put into effect without delay, as suggested by the Prime Minister in his 13th February letter to Mr. Khrushchev, conditional, of course, upon the subsequent achievement of the programme of general disarmament?

All this is just opening out. I do not think it would be helpful for me to add anything at this time.

While none of us wish to do anything to make things more difficult in Geneva, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman has studied the emphasis which some of us placed on the questions of a non-nuclear club and a nuclear-free zone in the recent debate? Will the right hon. Gentleman at any rate make plain that Her Majesty's Government will give full support to any measure designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to countries which are at present without nuclear weapons?

The answer to the second part of the question is in what I said. The actual provision is:

"that States owning nuclear weapons shall not relinquish control of such weapons to any nation not owning them and shall not transmit to any such nation information or material necessary for their manufacture."
If the whole plan, of which this is part, came into effect that would be effective. With regard to the second part of the question, there are specific Questions to be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal tomorrow which I should not wish to anticipate.

Yes, but is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Soviet Government have published their answer—which obviously is of some propagandist value apart from other values—to the letter from the Secretary-General on this question? Will not the Prime Minister make his answer clear about the two resolutions on the Irish and Swedish initiative at United Nations?

This is coming up at the Conference itself, when we shall make our statement.

The Prime Minister has said nothing effective about the Swedish resolution on the formation of a non-nuclear club passed by 58 votes to 10 in the General Assembly. In view of the fact that the Soviet Union has indicated its readiness to support this, if Britain, France and the United States will do the same, does not that give a possibility of making an enormous advance towards a state of affairs in which nuclear weapons would be confined to ourselves, to the United States and to the Soviet Union?

As I have already said, that is part of the United States proposal which we support. As the debate is just opening, it would be a mistake for me to try to deal with detailed points until the opening speeches have been made by the Foreign Secretary, Mr. Gromyko and Mr. Rusk.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether his attention has been drawn to the statement on nuclear weapons by the Bow Group of Conservatives and what is his opinion of them?

I always read all statements on these matters with interest, and I think it of great value for them to give these various points of view.