12 DECEMBER 1931, Page 19

PRICES AND PROTECTION [To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Ssa,—Presumably

you have good grounds for the statement which is given a very prominent place in your issue of December 5th :

. " Encouraged by the increases in prices it has been possible to • effect on articles included in Mr. Runciman's abnormal import schedules.... "

I think, however, it would be only fair to specify the goods • which have been advanced in price.

• Judging from figures I have seen carpets constitute a very considerable proportion of Mr. Runciman's first schedule, and I should like to state that there has been no advance in the price of British-made carpets, and that there will be no advance as a result of the imposition of a Duty. The advance, if one does take place, will be due to an increase in the price of raw materials caused by the depreciation of the value of the pound sterling. This depreciation is the result of our unfavourable trade balance caused by the policy of free imports, and so I think it is fair to say that if the price of carpets is advanced it will be due to the policy of free imports and not protection.— Chairman of the Royal Axminster Carpet Manufacturers' Association.

[It was not suggested that all prices have been increased, and there was no kind of implied reference to carpets. As to unfavourable trade balances, are they unknown in protectionist countries ?—En. Spectator.]