HC Deb 14 March 1944 vol 398 cc20-1
32. Mr. Kirby

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will now make a statement as regards the Government's policy in relation to the future of the cotton industry of this country both on the productive side, spinning, weaving, etc., and in relation to the position of traders in raw cotton.

Mr. Dalton

Since receiving the Report of the Cotton Board Committee, I have held a number of consultations on the post-war organisation of the cotton trade; but I am not at present in a position to make a further statement.

Mr. Kirby

Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to expedite his inquiries as far as possible to allow those in the industry to know where they are to be in the future?

Mr. Dalton

A number of things are going on. The Chairman of the Cotton Board is, I hope, going to undertake some inquiries for me into the finishing section of the industry, as recommended in the Cotton Board Report. There is a Mission proceeding shortly to the United States, led by the Cotton Controller, to make a study of war-time conditions there, from which we may learn something.

Mr. Petherick

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Cotton Industry Act and the Spindles Act, those remarkable examples of planning, by no means did what those who advocated them anticipated?

Mr. Rhys Davies

May I ask my right hon. Friend in view of the very serious position facing the cotton industry in Lancashire whether he can give any idea of when he will be able to make a statement?

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir, not at the moment. It took the Streat Committee eight months to make their report to me. The whole matter is very complicated, those concerned are not in agreement and I must have a little time to unravel it.