§ 42. Mr. NEEDHAM
asked the Minister of Munitions whether he is aware of the uncertainty which prevails in the cotton textile trade arising out of the order of the 8th March affecting the priority of production of textiles; whether applications have to be made by exporters to, and priority certificates obtained from, the Ministry of Munitions in respect- of each export order before priority certificate B can be issued by such exporters to the manufacturers; if so, whether he is aware of the number of applications which will have to be made and of the consequent delays which will occur; and whether he will make a statement as to the procedure which has to be followed by manufacturers and exporters of textiles.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY of the MINISTRY of MUNITIONS (Mr. Kellaway)
The Order of 8th March only requires firms to give priority to any work for which they may have received A or B certificates. Unless and until and such 589 certificates are received by a manufacturer he can go on with the ordinary commercial work as he pleases. Class B certificates may be issued in respect of "export orders certified in writing" by various Departments as being "of sufficient national importance to be specially approved for export to approved destinations," and as regards ordinary commercial orders, the responsibility for the issue of any certificates that may be found necessary will rest mainly with the Board of Trade. I have been in communication with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, and I understand that it is not his intention, as a rule, to exercise this power by issuing certificates for particular export orders, but by issuing a general Order specifying any industry in which he may consider that production for export should have priority over production for home consumption, and also specifying the classes of orders to which for this purpose priority must, so far as practicable, be given. My hon. Friend will, therefore, see that it will be unnecessary for applications to be made to the Board of Trade or to the Ministry of Munitions each time an exporter desires to secure priority.
§ Mr. NEEDHAM
Will the hon. Gentleman take care to make representations to the President of the Board of Trade to consult the cotton trade before anything is done or any Order is issued?
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Has the hon. Member, the head of this Department of the Ministry of Munitions, dealing with the priority claim, himself the commercial experience and qualifications to enable him to deal with this commercial matter?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
The head of this branch of the Ministry of Munitions does not deal with individual applications, but he acts on the advice of men who are experts on the subject.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Has the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, who is at the head of this Department of the Ministry of Munitions, the commercial experience qualifying him to discharge the duties of this important office?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
I stated before that the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, who 590 is at the head of this branch of the Ministry of Munitions, is assisted by the advice of experts.