HC Deb 25 February 1930 vol 235 cc2031-5
17. Mr. ALLEN

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state the amount of linen goods exported from Czechoslovakia into the United Kingdom during the last 12 months; whether he is aware that the wages paid in the Czechoslovakian linen industry are approximately 40 per cent. of the wages paid for the same categories of work in this country; and whether he proposes to take steps to safeguard the employment of British workers in this industry from the competition resulting from the low standard of wages maintained by Czechoslovakian manufacturers?


The imports of flax yarns registered as consigned from Czechoslovakia in 1929 were 412 tons, valued at £88,616, and of linen manufactures £19,280, as compared with a British output which, according to the last Census of Production, amounted in 1924 to 43,000 tons of yarns, and piece goods valued at 14 millions sterling. The figures of imports do not include articles of apparel, particulars for which are not separately recorded. As regards the second part of the question, the available information as to wages in the linen industry in Czechoslovakia is insufficient for the purpose of exact comparisons, but I am aware that wages generally in Czechoslovakia are substantially lower than in this country. As regards the third part of the question, I have nothing to add to previous statements as to the policy of the Government.


asked the President of the Board of Trade what methods he is adopting to ensure that no yarn nor manufactured cotton-piece goods enter this country from Russia without his knowledge?


I have no reason to doubt that goods consigned to this country from Russia are so returned to the Customs authorities but, as has already been indicated, any individual cases of a different practice, of which the right hon. Gentleman may furnish particulars, will be fully investigated.


Is the right hon. Gentleman keeping his eye on the yams that come from Riga?


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give the House the amount of yarn and cotton goods imported into this country from Japan for the last three years for which statistics are available and especially for the past few months?


On 13th February, in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Hammersley, I cerculated in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the value of cotton merchandise of various descriptions imported during the past three years and registered as consigned from Japan. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of this table and will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a corresponding table for the four months October to January last.

The following TABLE shows the TOTAL DECLARED VALUE of the undermentioned descriptions of Cotton Merchandise imported into Great Britain and Northern Ireland during each of the months October, 1929, to January, 1930, inclusive, and registered as consigned from Japan (including Formosa and Japanese leased territories in China).
Description. Oct., 1929. Nov., 1929. Dec, 1929. Total Oct.-Dec, 1929. Jan., 1930.
£ £ £ £ £
Cotton, raw 1,040
Cotton linters
Cotton waste, unmanufactured 7,812 8,692 6,150 22,654 4,850
Cotton yarns
Cotton manufactures (except apparel and embroidery):—
Piece goods: Grey, unbleached
White, bleached 108 108
Printed 731 1,693 1,866 4,290 6,079
Dyed in the piece 3,106 1,571 14,936 19,613 4,814
Manufactured wholly or in part of dyed yarn, and commonly known as coloured cottons. 1,310 610 536 2,456 1,965
Flags, handkerchiefs and shawls, wholly of cotton, not in the piece. 82 82
Lace and net 9 9 4
Finished thread
Small wares, including ribbons and trimmings. 61 5 66 52
Made up cotton goods for household purposes. 11,837 8,610 7,633 28,080 11,336
Manufactured cotton cleaning waste 20 20
Cotton manufactures, not elsewhere specified 1,537 1,149 1,559 4,245 884
Fabric gloves, wholly or in part of cotton
Hosiery of cotton, or of which the chief value is cotton:—
Stockings and hose 7,474 13,357 14,567 35,398 23,997
Underwear 25,110 27,390 20,509 73,009 31,009
Fancy hosiery 1,715 1,625 1,268 4,608 2,900
Total of above 60,722 64,697 69,219 194,638 88,930
Notes.—In addition to the above items, other articles of apparel imported from Japan are probably made of cotton, but such articles are not classified in the Import Returns according to the material of which they are made, and therefore are not included in the above table.
The above figures are provisional.
29. Mr. ALLEN

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state the value and amount of Russian linen yarn dumped in Northern Ireland during the last year; whether he is aware of the unemployment in the spinning end


May we assume that the figures are increasing, and, if so, does not the right hon. Gentleman think it will be a good thing to put on a protective duty against those goods to help our workers in the cotton industry?


That is too big a question to go into at Question Time.

Following is the table:

of the linen industry in Northern Ireland; and whether he has any information as to the hours and wages operating in this branch of production in Russia, by comparison with those operating in Northern Ireland?


During the year 1929, the quantity of flax yam imported into Northern Ireland and registered as consigned from the Soviet Union (Russia) was 5,191 cwts., valued at £39,537. I have no information regarding the amount of unemployment in the various sections of the linen industry, for which as a whole the percentage unemployed in January last was 14.6. In September, 1929, according to official figures published by the Soviet the average hourly rate of all workers in the linen industry in Russia was 26.6 copecs (6.7 pence), and the spinners worked an average of 7½ hours a day. In Northern Ireland, female spinners earned 6d. an hour at a corresponding date, the normal working week being 48 hours.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the value of the copec is maintained on an artificial basis, and that it is worth about half its official value?