HC Deb 22 November 1939 vol 353 cc1214-5
50. Mr. W. Roberts

asked the Minister of Supply whether prices of British wools have now been fixed; whether arrangements with brokers in Scotland have been agreed to by the brokers' representatives; and whether any business in British-grown wools has now taken place?

Mr. Burgin

British wool, other than that in farmers' hands, was taken over on 30th October, and from this date the Control have been selling such wool for home trade at issue prices which have been notified to the industry. The question of the price at which wool still in farmers' hands will be taken over is still under consideration. I understand that representatives of the Scottish brokers have expressed general agreement with the arrangements for dealing with Scottish wool proposed by the Control, and that it is expected that agreement will also shortly be reached on the outstanding question of the brokers' remuneration.

Mr. Roberts

May I ask whether there is any real reason why farmers should have been prevented by the operation of the Ministry of Supply from selling their wool for nearly three months? There has never been any explanation whatever why these prices should not have been fixed long ago and why the farmers who need the money should not be enabled to sell their wool.

Mr. Burgin

I think there is a reason in connection with the Wool Control for wanting to control large stocks. I am sorry there has been a delay in fixing prices; I was not aware that hardship had been caused thereby.

51. Mr. Leach

asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware of the continued dissatisfaction of textile traders with the methods of wool control, par ticularly in regard to unfair appraisements, undue preference extended to firms represented on the control executive, opportunities given to learn competitors' business affairs and the loss of their businesses without redress by certain traders; and what he proposes to do in the matter?

Mr. Burgin

It is necessary in a control of this kind that the administration should be in the hands of experts in the trade. So far as possible the existing channels of trade are being utilised, but some modification is inevitable in the circumstances of the time, particularly, in view of the acquisition by the Government of the greater part of the wool supplies. If the hon. Member is in a position to supply me with any evidence of unfair practices, I will have it investigated.

Mr. Leach

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider coming down to Bradford to see for himself?

Mr. Burgin

Yes, Sir. Other things being equal, I shall be happy to undertake that mission.

Forward to