17. Mr. CATHCART WASON
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the fact that the Shetlanders have established a special reputation for distinctive classes of hosiery and cloth; that, in order to deprive them of the distinctive characteristics of the trade they have built up, persons have been continually in the habit of passing off goods as Shetland, and real Shetland, without justification; and seeing that the Board of Agriculture have convened a meeting of those interested, to be held at Lerwick on the 18th August, for the purpose of considering the institution of a system of marking Shetland goods for their better protection against the unfair competition of factory-made imitations, will he consider the desirability of sending a representative of the Board of Trade to the meeting to assist in its deliberations?
§ Mr. BURNS
As regards the first two parts of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him on 17th June. As regards the last part of the question, I understand from the Scottish Board of Agriculture that they have convened the meeting referred to for the purpose of obtaining from persons interested—principally native workers and merchants—an expression of opinion as to the desirability of protecting the native industry by a system of marking. They add that the information on the subject at present in their possession is not sufficiently complete to enable them to lay any proposal before the Board of Trade at this stage. In the circumstances I do not think that any useful result would be achieved by a representative of the Board of Trade attending the meeting; but my hon. Friend may rest assured that any proposals submitted to my Department by the Scottish Board of Agriculture will receive most careful consideration.