§ 30. Mr. Liddall
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the imports of machinery in 1938 amounted to 124,278 tons as compared with 93,145 tons in 1931; what proportion of the increase is attributable to machinery not obtainable in the United Kingdom which is required for the rearmament programme; and what steps it is proposed to take to restrict the importation of competitive machinery from overseas, by quota or otherwise, having regard to the fact that in January there were 220,000 persons unemployed in the engineering and other metal-using industries?
§ Mr. Stanley
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. About 27 per cent., by value, of the machinery imported during 1938 was licensed for duty-free importation on the ground that similar machinery was not for the time being procurable in the United Kingdom, but I am unable to say how much of this machinery was required in connection with the rearmament programme. As regards the last part of the question, it is open to the engineering industry to apply to the Import Duties Advisory Committee for increased protection if it is claimed that the industry is suffering from foreign competition in the home market.
§ Mr. Liddall
Will the engineering industry be able to count upon the support of the right hon. Gentleman?