§ Sir J. SIMON
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that a consignment of sodium phosphate arrived at Millwall Docks on 5th April last and, although the importer made a free entry in respect of the goods, the dock officers demanded that a sample should be taken; that it was not until four days later that the goods were released as being non-dutiable, and during that period the goods were in a barge on which there was heavy demurrage; and, in view of the fact that 60 per cent. of the consignments of chemicals held up, pending the result of the test by dock officers, are ultimately found to be not liable to duty under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, whether some better arrangements can be made for the quick transit of samples from the docks to the laboratory, in order to avoid delay and consequent financial loss to importers, who have to pay demurrage on barges while goods are held up?
I have been asked to reply to this question. I regret that delay should have occurred in this case, and steps are being taken to obviate any recurrence. I would, however, point out that the four days mentioned included a Saturday and Sunday.