25 APRIL 1931, Page 16


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—In his letter to the Conservative candidate in the Woolwich election, Mr. Baldwin says : " The time has come when the workers must protect their livelihood from the competition of the foreigner," meaning that what we are importing from the foreigner is causing unemployment in this country. No one knows better than Mr. Baldwin that the vast bulk of our imports consists of raw and semi-raw materials which, so far from taking employment away from this country, is the very lifeblood of our great manufacturing areas. May I take the iron and steel industries, in which we know Mr. Baldwin is specially interested ? We import large quantities of steel sheets and plates which are the raw materials in the Midlands for manufacturing finished goods for export and the home con- sumers. This material can be imported at about £6 per ton, whereas the English steel combines demand £9 to -210 per ton, which would kill our export trade and throw thousands out of employment ; for it must be borne in mind that one steel works, where you may count employees by hundreds, can supply 50 to 100 manufacturers with raw materials, and where, combined, you may count upon some 10,000 workers, whose very existence is dependent upon a low cost of manu- facture. Are all these industries to be sacrified for the sake of booming the shares of protected steel combines at the British consumers' expense ?–=I am, Sir, &c., JAMES H. WEAGER.

Leadenhall Buildings, 1 Leadenhall Street, London, B.C. 8,