§ We have, therefore, decided that the interim trade policy of import restrictions should come definitely to an end on 1st September. They were retained to shield industry during the time of demobilisation, and during the time when we were changing from war conditions to peace conditions. There is no further justification for them. The only result of keeping them after 1st September would be to put up prices artificially, and they are too high already.
§ I now come to the provisions which we have to make to defend the industry of this country against unfair competition, or against competition which might destroy certain essential industries that could not be maintained in face of open competition. There will be the obstacles in the way of imports which come from low exchanges and high freights. Those, I am afraid, will remain for some time. We have decided that we cannot put on artificial restrictions. It is not good business. It is better that we come down to the realities and let the nation face them. It may have the effect for some time of putting up the price of food, and of putting up the price of raw materials, especially those that come from America. That is the result of under production, and it is right that that should be brought home to everybody in the land. Otherwise, we shall never cure it. Therefore, the Government propose to abandon the support of exchanges, except in so far as some support may for a time be necessary to prevent complete collapse of any important exchanges. This may lead to a further fall in the American exchange until our output increases, but that will in itself raise a barrier, a higher wall, against American imports.