§ 11. Mr. Hammersley
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, as the cotton reorganisation legislation will provide an organisation which will enable the industry to speak with a united voice, he will undertake that all the available assistance of the Government, including, if necessary, the assistance of a subsidy, will be used to prevent the further decline of the cotton export trade?
§ Mr. Stanley
His Majesty's Government have the interests of the cotton export trade constantly before them, and take every available opportunity in their negotiations with foreign countries to secure 1895 benefits for it. If and when the organisation referred to by my hon. Friend is set up, the Government would naturally give careful consideration to any representations from it regarding the export trade.
§ Mr. Hammersley
Are we to understand from that, that if the necessity arises subsidies are not ruled out?
§ Mr. Stanley
I cannot answer a hypothetical question, but certainly if the organisation which is set up speaks with a united voice, the Government are likely to pay more attention to its views than to the very conflicting opinions expressed now.
§ Mr. Fleming
Will my right hon. Friend give consideration also to the question of the St. Germain-en-Laye Convention, which stands in the way of the export trade of the textile industry?
§ Mr. Stanley
That is a question which I have answered on innumerable occasions. On the advice of the highest legal authorities, that treaty is not capable of being evaded.
Colonel Sandeman Allen
How is it possible for the French authorities to have evaded it in the case of French West Africa?
§ Mr. Stanley
Perhaps my hon. and gallant Friend will put that question down. But I would point out that two blacks do not make a white.
§ 28. Mr. Sutcliffe
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can now make a statement about the Cotton Industry (Reorganisation) Bill?
§ Mr. Stanley
I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT particulars of the result of the ballot of the producing sections of the cotton industry, and of the observations received from other interests concerned with the proposals. The position is now under consideration by the Government, and I hope to be able to make a statement on the subject shortly.
§ Following are the particulars:
Result of Ballot conducted by the Board of Trade in the producing sections of the cotton industry on the draft of a Cotton Industry (Reorganisation) Bill.The number of effective ballot papers received was 1,997. The firms who voted represented over three-quarters of the estimated number of firms in the industry as defined by the Bill; on the basis of employment the proportion exceeded five-sixths. The proportions given below are calculated on the basis of the votes received.
§ The proportion who voted in favour of the Bill in each section of the industry was as follows:
|Number of firms.||Employment.||Output.|
|Per cent.||Per cent.||Per cent.|
|Spinning and Doubling||66||73||72|
|Packing and Making-up||52||72||75|
§ For the industry as a whole the proportion in favour of the Bill was 65 per cent. measured by number of firms, 72 per cent. measured by employment and 70 per cent. measured by output.
§ The Manchester Chamber of Commerce have sent the following report of a ballot of their members:
|Particulars of Poll—|
|1. Number of voting papers distributed, i.e., total voting strength of Chamber membership||4,358|
|2. Number of voting papers returned||1,706|
|3. Number of voting papers rejected as incorrectly completed||127|
|4. Number of members casting votes in excess of two||14|
|Result of Poll—Totals—|
|5. Number of votes in favour of the Bill||730|
|6. Number of votes against the Bill||849|
|Result of Poll—Classified—|
|7. Votes cast by members in Category 1, i.e., members not engaged in the cotton textile industry For Against||126|
|8. Number of votes cast by members in Category 2, i.e., in the producing sections of the cotton, etc., industry For Against||436|
|Result of Poll—Classified—cont.|
|9. Number of votes cast by members in Category 3, i.e., occupied in dealing in cotton and rayon goods in the home market For Against||67|
|10. Number of votes cast by members in Category 3, who have also received the Government ballot paper as producers For Against||6|
|11. Number of votes cast by members in Category 4, i.e., engaged in selling cotton and rayon goods to export markets For Against||101|
|12. Number of votes cast by members in Category 4, who have also received the Government ballot paper as producers For Against||18|
§ The London Chamber of Commerce have reported that the Cotton Exporters' Section of the Chamber have considered the proposals and are opposed to the Bill as drafted; they desire various modifications to be made in the draft.
§ The Glasgow Chamber of Commerce have reported that of the firms in their district known to be interested in the merchanting of textile goods, eight were in favour of the proposals and five were in opposition to them.
§ The National Union of Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers and the Joint Board of Inside Warehouse Workers have expressed their support of the proposals; and the United Textile Factory Workers Association has forwarded a resolution, approving the proposals, which was passed by 138 votes to 60 at a conference of delegates from the district associations of the amalgamations which comprise that organisation.