HC Deb 07 May 1919 vol 115 cc911-2
81. Mr. JESSON

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that during the War certain British markets for cotton goods were captured by Japan, China, and India; that the cotton manufacturers of these countries were assisted in their enterprise by our lack of shipping and the German U-boat campaign; that the wages paid for this class of Asiatic labour is less than 1s. 6d. per day; and, in the interests of the thousands of cotton operatives now unemployed in the cotton industry of this country, does he propose to take any steps to regain those markets for British labour and British enterprise?


The suggestion made in the first part of the question is, in my opinion, an overstatement of the facts, but inroads have certainly been made into British markets for cotton goods as the result of war conditions, including lack of shipping and the German submarine campaign. It is the case that the wages paid to Asiatic operatives are less than the wages paid in this country, but, of course, other factors have to be taken into account, such as the relative number of operatives who have to be employed in this country and in Asiatic countries for a given piece of work. In reply to the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for the Macclesfield Division on the 5th May.