§ 45. Mr. GRIFFITHS
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of ships have been ordered by an English firm of 26 shipowners from German shipbuilders; if so, whether he intends referring the matter to a Committee of the Board of Trade under the safeguarding of industries proposal; and whether he will take steps to stop the importation of foreign-built ships into this country under the same conditions as with other imports which come under the Safeguarding of Industries Act?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD OF TRADE (Sir Burton Chadwick)
I have been asked to reply. The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part of the question, it would be open to the shipbuilding industry to make an application to the Board of Trade in accordance with the terms of the White Paper (Cmd. 2327) if that course were thought expedient. I am not sure that I altogether understand the last part of the question. The importation of the articles scheduled to the Safeguarding of Industries Act, 1921, is not prohibited, but only made subject to duty. The list could not be extended without legislation.
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is a trap laid by the German shipbuilders in order to ascertain the cost of producing ships in this country so that they may obtain their subsidy from the Government; and, secondly, whether he is aware that it enables them to compare the cost of building ships in Germany and in this country, with a view to forcing the wages down in this country and also in Germany?