HC Deb 05 May 1915 vol 71 cc1105-8
49. Mr. PETO

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps it is proposed to take to establish in this country the manufacture of optic glass and scientific glass and porcelain apparatus in suitable quantity and variety to meet the military and scientific needs of the country; and whether it is intended to give any protection by tariff or otherwise at the termination of the War to this industry?


The whole question of the promotion of the industry to which the hon. Member refers is receiving the careful attention of the Board of Trade, in co-operation with the other Departments interested, but I am not at pre sent in a position to make any statement on the subject.

51. Mr. KING

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that while Germany and Austria have spent many thousands annually on technical education for the glass industry by means of Fachschulen, Gewerbe-museen, and Handelskammern, the only classes in glass-making in England are at Worsley, of which the total outlay is £270 annually; and whether, in view of the import of glass from Germany and Austria into the British Empire being now stopped, efforts will be made by improved technical instruction to seize this opportunity for the improvement of the glass-working industry?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)

My hon. Friend appears to have been misinformed. I am advised that no special schools for instruction in glass manufacture exist in either Germany or Austria; the object of the so-called "glass" schools in Bohemia is to develop artistic taste. On the other hand, there are classes in this subject at Stourbridge and Brierly Hill, in addition to that at Worsley. Under the Board's regulations for technical schools Grants are available in aid of instruction in glass manufacture, but there has not been hitherto much demand for such instruction either from employers or from work-people.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say how much money his Department actually votes for instruction in glass manufacture?


My Department does not vote money; this House votes money. I should want notice in order to ascertain what actually has been spent.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at Jena there is an institution for the scientific development of glass making, which is in fact one of the most remarkable institutions for technical education in the world?


Has the right hon. Gentleman consulted the Board of Trade on this matter?


No; I have consulted my authorities, and, according to their information, which I believe can be relied upon, there is no class of this description either in Germany or Austria; but, of course, having regard to the other question of the hon. Member (Sir J. Larmor), I will make further inquiries.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consent to have a Report prepared to submit to Parliament on this whole question, which is really one of the most signal triumphs of the application of scientific skill to industry?


The whole matter is receiving close attention, and I hope to be able to make a statement to the House on the subject.


If I present the hon. Gentleman with a report on glass manufacture in Austria and Germany, will he look at it?

26 and 50. Mr. KING

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India (1) whether he is aware that during the year ending 31st March, 1915, glass bangles and beads to the value of £483,555 were imported into India from Austria; whether this import has now ceased; and what steps are being taken to supply the demand from the manufactories of this country, British Colonies, or the Allies; and asked the President of the Board of Trade (2) whether he is aware that the glass imports in India from Germany and Austria amounted in the year ending 31st March, 1914, to the value of £773,118; and what steps are being taken to supply India's demand for glass from the resources of the Empire?


The figure quoted for the imports of glass into India from Germany and Austria-Hungary for the year ended 31st March, 1914, represents glass and glasswares of all kinds, and includes, therefore, the value of glass bangles—£483,555—imported from Austria-Hungary. Complete and detailed figures for the year ended 31st March, 1915, are not yet available. Samples of glass bangles have been received by the Board of Trade from India, and brought to the notice of manufacturers in this country, but I understand that there are difficulties in the manufacture being undertaken here at present owing to the pressure of other demands and the special plant required.


Are not the difficulties also accentuated by the great lack of technical education in this highly scientific branch of industry?


I am not aware that it is a highly scientific and technical branch of industry, but I think the real reasons are those I have given.