HC Deb 28 April 1931 vol 251 cc1423-4
13. Mr. REMER

asked the President of the Board of Trade the policy of the Government with reference to the cotton industry; and if that policy will involve legislation or financial assistance?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. William Graham)

A meeting of the Joint Committee of Cotton Trade Organisations was held on the 9th April to consider certain resolutions, of which the most important was one dealing with the question of the adjustment of productive capacity to demand. The resolution ended with a proposal that an investigator or investigators should be appointed, with statutory powers of inquiry, whose duty it would be to secure information for the use of the executive of the Joint Committee in preparing a scheme for maintaining a closer relation between capacity and demand. This resolution has been referred to the Central Committees of the various organisations both of employers and operatives which are represented on the Joint Committee, with a request that it should be considered and a decision reached upon it as soon as possible. It will then be possible for the Joint Committee to take a vote by organisations on the resolution. Until this has been done, it would be inappropriate for His Majesty's Government to express an opinion on the questions to which the resolution gives rise.


Have the Government any policy of any kind to deal with the trouble in the cotton trade?


Yes, a definite policy in these matters, and we have been pursuing it diligently through all these negotiations.


in the event of the resolution being passed by the various constituent organisations to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, is it the intention of the Government to propose legislation to give statutory authority to it?


I cannot give any decision on that matter this afternoon. We had better get the verdict of these bodies, and that will be considered among many other matters which I must take into account.


When the right hon. Gentleman has the verdict, does he propose to take any action on the matter, or to do the same as he is doing now—nothing?


That point has been covered in the reply which I have just given.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has considered the recent letter sent to him by the President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce in connection with the gravity of the present position of the cotton export trade to India; and, if so, whether he will tell the House the nature of his reply?


Yes, Sir. I have received this letter and have informed the chamber that their views have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for India.


Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the Prime Minister has a copy of that letter, so that he may know what Manchester thinks about the Government?


The Prime Minister is familiar with the position, and in any case it has already been made plain that a reply will be sent in due course.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he has any news about the continued boycott in India?