HC Deb 29 October 1945 vol 415 cc12-5
33 and 34. Mr. Frederick Lee

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he is now satisfied with the rate of intake of persons into the cotton industry;

(2) whether he is satisfied that the quantity of cotton yarn now at the disposal of the cotton industry in sufficient to ensure full employment.

Sir S. Cripps

The rate of intake of operatives into the spinning section of the cotton industry has shown a marked improvement recently, but is still much below the level which I could regard as satisfactory. I will circulate the figures in the Official Report. The intake of operatives into other sections of the cotton industry is on the whole adequate at present, having in mind the shortage of yarn. I can give no assurance about the expansion of employment in the yarn-using industries so long as the expansion in yarn supplies is uncertain.

Mr. Lee

Can the Minister say what is being done to induce ex-cotton operatives, who are redundant since the end of the war, to return to the industry?

Sir S. Cripps

The Ever shed Commission, which has recently been sitting, has just finished its report to the Minister of Labour, as regards wage conditions in the industry. Four reports have been made, under the agisof the Chief Inspector of Factories, as regards conditions in the industry, which have to be implemented, and the Cotton Working Board which is now at work on other matters.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

Is the Minister satisfied that the training schemes for young workers in the cotton industry are adequate?

Sir S. Cripps

The Cotton Board is taking every step which it can to see that these are made as adequate as possible. That is one of the matters which the working party will take into consideration.

Mr. Bossom

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say how many of those returning to the industry have come out of the Army under Class A and Class B releases?

Mr. John Lewis

Will the Minister agree that the question of wages is one of the

1. Number of workers placed in cotton spinning:
Fortnight ended. Experienced Workers. Inexperienced Workers. Total.
15th September 574 164 748 including 20 part-time
29th September 751 (17 part-time) 249 (2 part-time) 1,000 workers each counting as half
17th October 983 (18 part-time) 463 (4 part-time) 1,446
2. Number of workpeople employed in cotton spinning:
Spinners (000's).
On Books. At work.
1st September 79.45 65.00
8th September 79.58 69.17
15th September 79.85 70.55
22nd September 80.07 70.93
29th September 80.40 71.53
6th October 80.87 72.17
13th October 81.18 72.87
3. Output of cotton yarn from the beginning of September, to date:
Week ending 1945. Million of lbs. Equivalent in 1,000's of Tons.
1st September 11.48 5.125
8th September 12.72 5.679
15th September 13.09 5.844
22nd September 13.25 5.915
29th September 13.44 6.001
6th October 13.98 6.241
13th October 14.31 6.388
72. Mr. Harold Sutcliffe

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that development of the export trade in cotton goods is being delayed by most important matters concerning the cotton industry? When does he anticipate that the working party will be in a position to state what wages will be paid to certain of these groups in the cotton industry, who have been so badly under-paid in the past, and who, for this reason, are not prepared to return to the mills?

Sir S. Cripps

The working party will not deal with wages or conditions of employment. That is being dealt with, as regards the spinning industry, by the Evershed Commission, the report of which has just been completed.

Following are the figures referred to:

the large requirements of the Services; if he will give figures showing the quantity of textile goods now on order and in course of preparation for each of the three Fighting Services; and also indicate to what extent it has been possible recently to reduce these requirements.

Mr. Wilmot

I have been asked to reply. For the quarter ending 31st December, 1945, cotton allocations for textiles for the three Services amount to 5,150 tons. This figure shows a reduction of nearly two-thirds on the allocations for the quarter ended 31st March, 1945. In addition, there is an allocation of 2,500 tons for demobilised Servicemen's clothing.

Mr. Sutcliffe

Will the Minister give an assurance that the reduction will continue to keep pace with the speed of demobilisation so that, at the end, there will be no large stocks in reserve?